Tell the Story of Your Kids

What is your story?

This week, Ashton turned 5. Hard to believe he is 5.

It meant that it was also time for me to write him a birthday letter. This is a practice I started with our daughter when she was born.

One of the things I believe a dad can do it help to tell the story of their child’s life to them. I feel like with the rise of technology and pace in our lives, we lose an aspect of stories and remembering.

So, every year on their birthday I write them a letter about what happened in their life in this past year. How our family changed, how they changed, milestones in their life. I save each letter and will give them to them when they turn 18 or graduate from college. I haven’t decided yet.

My hope is that this will be a chronicle of what happened, a way of showing them how they became who they are, where they came from. As I talk to a lot of young adults, there seems to be a loss of not only who they are, but where they have come from. A rootless feeling for many.

I want them to see their heritage, so that as they move into the world as an adult, they know where they came from and who they are.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump… [Lunch Edition]

mind dump

  • The past 3 weeks have been a growing time for me personally as a husband and father, but also as a pastor
  • I’ve really enjoyed preaching specifically to women in our Beautiful series
  • I tweeted out that all pastors should do a series for women, if only to learn more clearly the struggles the women in their church go through
  • It created some great conversations in our missional communities
  • The response from women about the conversations they are having with their spouse or the things they are wrestling through personally has been overwhelming
  • Definitely what we prayed this series would do
  • If you missed yesterday as I walked through Proverbs 31, you can listen to it here
  • Paul and I spent a day last week learning about taking Revolution to multiple sites
  • So excited for the future of church planting at Revolution
  • What was once just wishful thinking 5 years ago (having more than one Revolution Church) is getting closer to a reality
  • So excited for Fight to kick off this week
  • Seriously, if you have been wanting to invite a guy to church, this is the week to do it
  • I took Gavin to a U of A basketball game last night
  • Such a fun daddy date
  • He couldn’t get over how cool it was
  • One of the things I love about this time of year is being able to watch the Olympics with the kids
  • They are so intense
  • Pretty excited because we are celebrating a birthday in our house today and going to see The Lego Movie
  • Heard great reviews about it
  • Speaking of movies
  • Katie and I went to see Lone Survivor on Friday night
  • Wow
  • So moving
  • I was simply astounded by the courage of those men and others like them
  • Seriously, you need to see it
  • We are beginning the process of looking for a full-time children’s pastor at Revolution Church
  • This is such an important hire for our church
  • Planet Rev is exploding and I’m excited for this person to help take it to a new level
  • Last week, Katie and I spoke at MOPS about how to communicate and fight well
  • It was great to interact with that group of women and help to push some of their thinking
  • It was also incredible sad talking to many of them afterward and hearing story after story of brokenness in their own life, their husband or their marriage
  • Heartbreaking
  • All I could think of was, “Why don’t their pastors challenge their husbands more?”
  • It was a good reminder to me of one of the many things that are at stake every week at Revolution when I preach
  • The ripple effects of brokenness go for generations
  • Sorry to end this on a sad note
  • I need to do some lunchtime “Murph” in honor of Lone Survivor
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Social Media & Birthdays

book

I had my birthday recently and it got me to thinking about birthday’s and social media. Facebook has proven to be nice for a few things when it comes to birthday’s or anniversaries. Facebook tells us when these things happen. I don’t have to remember, write them down or keep track. It will just show up on my page. I can then write a quick, “Happy birthday” and be done.

This is nice and somewhat lazy.

If we’re honest, it makes us feel like we are checking something off and being a good friend. But it is missing something.

If you have ever bought a card for something, you maybe wrote something in it. If anything, you at least took 5 seconds to pick out a card that fit that person. It caused you to have some thought about what you gave them or said to them. Social media has taken that away.

One of the things I’ve started to do and here’s my challenge to you: when you write happy birthday to someone on Facebook, write a message to them on their wall. Tell them why you appreciate them or why they are special to you. If you don’t know them well enough to do that, skip the greeting all together. They won’t know you didn’t write them a message.

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • Hard to believe today is my 34th birthday
  • Katie’s birthday was last Thursday, so it was a fun birthday celebration
  • Pretty excited about Katie cooking me cioppino tonight
  • Saw Ironman 3 on Saturday night
  • If you like comic book movies, this is one to see
  • Wow
  • As a movie lover, I love the summer movie season
  • I told Katie there is a movie coming out almost every week this summer I want to see
  • As a nominal movie fan, she was pumped
  • 🙂
  • I’ve put a huge emphasis on growing as a communicator this year and spent some of this weekend reading a new book called Lead with a Story
  • Fascinating read, tons of great stories and ways to weave stories into a sermon or presentation
  • Yesterday at church was unbelievable
  • I preached on John 2:12 – 25 and the time that Jesus cleansed the temple and talked about rebuilding the temple in 3 days
  • Tons of relevant imagery to our lives and how Jesus rebuilds our lives
  • I got more feedback and responses to yesterday’s sermon than any sermon I could ever remember
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • Got a busy week this week as we have family coming into town
  • On top of the normal T-Ball 3 nights a week rhythm our family is now
  • One of the advantages to preaching a longer series like John is not having to prep a new fall series, which is what I’d normally be doing now
  • We have a HUGE adoption fundraiser happening on June 15th
  • I’ll blog details about it this week, but we are hoping to raise 9-15K to make the final push to bring our child from Ethiopia home
  • Crazy to think we are that close and could find out any day who our child is
  • That’s all for now

Top Posts of July 2012

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for the last month:

  1. My Journey of Losing Weight
  2. Burnout Series Part 4: Finding Your Way out of Burnout
  3. Some Thoughts on Body Image & the Idol of Food
  4. Burnout Series Part 1: How to Burnout
  5. What “Be Still” Means
  6. Revolution Church is Moving
  7. Burnout Series Part 2: How You Know if you are Burned Out
  8. Meet Nehemiah James Andrew (Updated)
  9. Don’t Forget
  10. Today Ava is 7

Today Ava is 7

Today Ava turns 7. It is hard to believe that I have a 7 year old in my house.

Spent this morning eating pancakes with the birthday girl. She requested pizza for her birthday dinner. Not my grilled pizza mind you, but pizza in an oven. Hurt my feelings but reminded myself that she is 7 and may not have a fully developed food palate yet.

One of the things I do every year on my kids birthday is write them a letter of things that happened in our family and their lives over the past year. I talk about ways I’ve seen God move in their lives, what is new, what has happened, etc. These are letters that I’ll give them when they turn 18 as a way of creating a storyline for their lives. I hope they are something they’ll look back on, have good memories.

One of the things that has impressed me about Ava in this past year is I am beginning to see how the words quiet strength are starting to define who she is as a little girl and hopefully will define her as a woman. She is soft spoken, creative and has a strength that has recently impressed me with the addition of Nehemiah to our family.

This past year, Katie and I began praying Luke 2:52 over our kids. Every night, I pray with Ava that she will increase in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

What birthday traditions do you have with your kids? What was your favorite birthday tradition growing up?

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Happy Birthday to my Beautiful Wife

Today, Katie turns 31. I thought in honor of that, I’d share 31 things I love about her.

  1. You said yes to me.
  2. You believe in me and that I can do anything with my life and you won’t let me settle for less. This has proven to be one of the most important things to me in our marriage.
  3. You are my biggest cheerleader.
  4. You are the best mom. Between what I do, homeschooling, raising kids, fundraising for our adoptions, you keep it all going.
  5. You serve our family selflessly.
  6. You gave up the corporate ladder to raise our kids and change future generations through their lives.
  7. You have a clear picture of a great legacy and pursue it.
  8. You are a morning person, which balances us out and is helpful to our kids.
  9. You like sweets. A lot.
  10. You loved me when I was almost 300 pounds.
  11. You continually work through baggage from your past and the hurts from growing up to find freedom in Christ.
  12. You constantly pursue finding your identity in Christ than in something else.
  13. You fight for our marriage.
  14. You model better than anyone what it means to be a godly wife and mom.
  15. You have a passion for married women starting out and new mom’s to find their identity in Christ and be all that God created them to be.
  16. You are beautiful and not just generically. Your eyes still twinkle when you smile like they did when we met 17 years ago, I love how defined your arms have gotten since we started lifting together, I love how your hair swoops.
  17. You handle our finances and keep us in check and on track financially.
  18. You are starting to spend money on yourself. Which has been a long time coming, but I’m glad you do this now.
  19. You are an amazing cook. Every time someone eats at our house they ask for the recipe of what you fed them.
  20. You are super healthy, which has challenged me to be healthy.
  21. You love Revolution. As the first member of our church, you have given more to our church than anyone else. People might not realize that without you, Revolution would not exist.
  22. You are willing to watch movies with me, even though that isn’t your favorite thing to do.
  23. You are the most giving person I know, which has challenged me to be more giving.
  24. You are spontaneous, which is helpful as I’m a planner.
  25. You keep my life from knowing what is coming next, which makes life exciting.
  26. You are constantly growing, taking the next step in your relationship with Jesus, growing as a woman, a wife and a mom. I love how you ask me what you can read next, which challenges me to keep growing.
  27. You have adopted my love for the Steelers. If not, this would have been disastrous.
  28. You like the same places to eat as I do.
  29. You listen to me vent, then ask if I’m done and challenge what I just said.
  30. You are one of the few people who could talk me out of something, which is quite incredible because of how stubborn I am.
  31. You love music, but let me be the DJ of the house.

If you see Katie, be sure to wish her a happy birthday.

Ashton is 3 Today

Ashton turned 3 today. One of the things I do each year is write a letter to my kids.

One of the roles I think Dad’s should play is helping to write the story of their kids lives. When kids get older, what will they remember. They might remember trips and things that happen, but what about the small things in their lives? How their personality developed, how they started a relationship with Jesus, what shaped them. So, each year I sit down and write a letter chronicling that year in the life of our child.

It is also helpful for me as I think through the pace of the life of our family. I believe that Katie and I work together on our schedules, but one of the roles of a father is to help make sure the family is pacing well. Are they in a busy season? Slow season? Doing too many activities? This helps me look back over the year as well as I chronicle it for our kids.

Ashton is fun, cuddly, always wanting to wrestle (he asks everyone who comes into our house if they will wrestle with him), will always give someone a hug and kiss.

One thing I love about Ashton because Gavin is the complete opposite and Ashton makes it easier on us is he will eat anything you put in front of him. I remember once being at On the Border and Katie tried the salsa on the table and commented about how spicy it was. No sooner had she said that and Ashton was downing it with chips.

Ashton is at that age where he wants to be around his dad. He wants to sit on my office floor at home while I work on a sermon. Always asking “when I’ll be done with work so we can wrestle or he can ride his bike.” Gavin started riding a 2 wheeler this year, so Ashton is convinced if we just let him, he could ride without training wheels.

One of the things I’ve always loved about Ashton is how he smiles with his whole face. He doesn’t simply smirk or smile, his whole face gets into it. Makes me laugh everytime we ask him to smile for something.

While he is still too young to understand the gospel, we are reminding him of how God is working on his heart when he is obedient, when he apologizes for hurting someone. It is awesome to see how even at 3, the gospel is working on him and God is drawing him to himself.

Ashton’s birthday for me is a special day, not just because we celebrate Ashton, but because we decided on Ashton’s first birthday we would adopt. Today marks 2 years ago that we began the process of adopting from Ethiopia and domestically. While God has not completed our adoption, Ashton’s birthday for me is a reminder of God’s call on our lives and his perfect timing that is found in his sovereignty. Ashton is that reminder for me because he was born in the midst of planting Revolution. Katie and I often look back and wonder what we were thinking for having a child while planting a church. Ashton is a beautiful picture of God’s sovereignty.

Dads, I’d encourage you to tell the story of your kids lives. Even if you haven’t started, start now. I look forward to the day Ashton graduates from high school and I hand him a stack of letters that help to remind of who he is, where he has come from and the grace God has shown to him and us in our lives.

Writing the Story of Your Kids Lives

Gavin turned 4 today. One of the things I do each year is write a letter to my kids.

One of the roles I think Dad’s should play is helping to write the story of their kids lives. When kids get older, what will they remember. They might remember trips and things that happen, but what about the small things in their lives? How their personality developed, how they started a relationship with Jesus, what shaped them. So, each year I sit down and write a letter chronicling that year in the life of our child.

It is also helpful for me as I think through the pace of the life of our family. I believe that Katie and I work together on our schedules, but one of the roles of a father is to help make sure the family is pacing well. Are they in a busy season? Slow season? Doing too many activities? This helps me look back over the year as well as I chronicle it for our kids.

Gavin is strong and determined, not sure where he gets that from. That shapes a lot of who he is. One of the differences between me and him is how outgoing he is. The combination of this can be huge for the kingdom of God as he grows up. I sit back and wonder how God will use these gifts the has given to him.

I love hearing him pray for our friends and family, as well as how he prays for our adoption. I can see the Holy Spirit working in him and drawing his heart to his. It is neat hearing he asks about why we are adopting, why some kids don’t have parents and how that is shaping him. I hope that between these two things, God shapes him into a man that is strong and determined, but whose heart breaks for those who have less than he does and that God will use him to serve those who are hurting.

Dads, I’d encourage you to tell the story of your kids lives. Even if you haven’t started, start now. I look forward to the day Gavin graduates from high school and I hand him a stack of letters that help to remind of who he is, where he has come from and the grace God has shown to him and us in our lives.

Yearly Letters to Your Kids

Ava turned 6 yesterday. One of the things I do each year is write a letter to my kids.

One of the roles I think Dad’s should play is helping to write the story of their kids lives. When kids get older, what will they remember. They might remember trips and things that happen, but what about the small things in their lives? How their personality developed, how they started a relationship with Jesus, what shaped them. So, each year I sit down and write a letter chronicling that year in the life of our child.

It is also helpful for me as I think through the pace of the life of our family. I believe that Katie and I work together on our schedules, but one of the roles of a father is to help make sure the family is pacing well. Are they in a busy season? Slow season? Doing too many activities? This helps me look back over the year as well as I chronicle it for our kids.

I just finished Ava’s 6th letter. Crazy that she is 6.

This was a major year for Ava. She started kindergarten and is now reading, writing and counting. We homeschool her, largely because of the schedule and pace of our family, but I love what is has done for our family, the input we have into her life and education. This was also the year that we really saw Ava’s heart change and open to the gospel. You can see how the Holy Spirit is changing her and how her 6 year old faith is growing.

I’m still blown away how fast 6 years go, but I am reminded of how important of a role I play as a father. I believe the view many kids have of God comes out of their view of their earthly father. The way Ava will allow men to treat her will be developed through how I treat her, but more importantly, how she sees me interact, love and pursue Katie.

Dads, I’d encourage you to tell the story of your kids lives. Even if you haven’t started, start now. I look forward to the day Ava graduates from high school and I hand her a stack of letters that help to remind of who she is, where she has come from and the grace God has shown to her and us in our lives.