Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Visit From The Family

The past two weeks I've taken a little bit of a break from writing. Two Saturday's ago, my mom and sister came down to visit us from Pennsylvania. The following weekend, my grandparents and my mom's boyfriend came down to stay with us for another week. It was a great time.

Everyone got to see how big Emerson's grown since the last time they've seen him. It's been about six months since the last time they've seen him in person. And in case you didn't already know this, little kids grow up A LOT in 6 month. Now that he's walking all over the place, talking up a storm, and wanting to constantly play, it was a real sight to see everyone being able to interact with him.

We know he had a blast as well. My sister Annika seemed to take on the role of "big sister" rather than Aunt. She played with him all the time and you could just see the admiration in his eyes when he watched her.

I still had to work during the time that they were here, but I was able to take the last Friday off before they went back home. During the days, everyone kept themselves pretty busy. They went to a community pool, our local park that has a splash pad, a couple malls in downtown McKinney, and occasionally outside on our new swing set (weather permitting of course). They even met me for lunch one day while I was at work. It was the first time they'd been to a Chick-Fil-A. Can you believe it?!

I'll be honest, we did do a couple things without Emerson. Danae's parents were more than happy to babysit for us. During those times, we went to the Mesquite Rodeo, and also to see Inside Out in 3D. Both of those were a blast!

We also go to show the family a bunch of restaurants that they don't have in Pennsylvania. We went to the Rainforest Cafe at the Grapevine Mills, BJ's Brewhouse, and Pluckers. Emerson was not all that crazy about the moving gorillas in Rainforest Cafe. He had been there when he was 3 months old, but I'm thinking he probably did not remember.

The last big thing we got to do was going to the Dallas World Aquarium. It was pretty fantastic. Emerson was able to walk all over the place thanks to this little monkey backpack he wore that had a leash so we could keep close tabs on him. It felt curiously similar to walking a dog. I thought I'd be getting plenty of strange looks from others for how we treat our child. We actually had one couple come up to me and practically offered to buy ours off of us. It ended being a real life saver.

It's amazing how quickly two weeks can fly by. But, fly by they did, and we were sad to see them go. It's always bittersweet saying goodbye when you know there's the possibility of months in between your next visit, yet at the same time there's a bit of a relief getting back to "normal". Thanks for visiting with us and we can't wait to get to see everyone again!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

How Important Is Your Name?

How important is your name? You had no say in the matter. You had no voice in the family you were born into, or in the region of the world you entered. But here you are. God saw fit to give you to us. So now what will you do with the opportunities laid out before you?

I can tell you what I see for your future. How I pray and strive to shape and mold you. Your mommy and I see a much different world around us than when we were kids (which wasn't all that long ago). It's a bit frightening to think that there will be an intangible disconnect between your parents and the outside influences of the world in a few years time. The time that you step out into this world and start making decisions on your own. But it's coming. 

So how important is your name?

Do you care that your story can travel far beyond your immediate reach? The people you interact with can have a chain reaction that moves further than you know. Will you choose to be a blessing to others? Will you learn to see the need of others? It's all too easy to overlook things that are outside of your world. Don't miss them. 

I'm going to help you along for the next few years that we get to have you in our home. I'll point out to you the places where your hand is needed, as well as the places where it's better to not be included. It's okay to remove yourself from a harmful situation. 

You're going to see daddy holding the door for others, not just women. You're going to learn to respect those in authority, responding with "Yes sir, no ma'am". You're going to learn to stand up for your siblings and your friends. You'll know how to speak in truth, but in love.

You're also going to know how to slow down and breath easy when life is pounding at your back. I'll try my best to show you how to lead by serving. Mommy and daddy are trying to make sure that there are other people in your life who value these traits and practice them as well. You'll be able to see how much better your world can be when we practice and cherish all of these things. 

There's chaos and confusion in this world. But, if you strive to see things through a clear lens, not diluted by selfish ambition, it's usually not too difficult to see what needs to be done. I'd wager that most people know what needs to be done, but choose to go their own direction. They're distracted by the dirt in their lens, and foolishly follow the things they think will lead to satisfaction. Don't be mistaken. It's always more satisfying to be a blessing to others than to yourself.

 Every action has a result. Everything we do in life follows this principle. The results may not be immediate or on a large scale, but they are there. You may not even be able to see them, but they are there. Don't forget the impact you will have on others. Be mindful of the impression you leave after you are gone. Make a conscious effort to bring joy into the world. Train yourself to leave that same kind of impression on others while not even trying.

You've been given a great opportunity being born into this world at this place in time. A time when you have the ability to reach so many lives. If you can keep one thing while you're on this world, keep your name. Take pride in it, and don't lose sight of the things that truly hold value.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Digging for Gold

I walk around, look up and down
So as to not get caught
“What’s this?” I wonder, a treasure to plunder?
But mommy calls it “snot”.

I run away, so that you’ll play
My game of run and chase.
If you catch me, I’ll squeal with glee,
You’ll see it on my face.

You must be quick so you can pick
The booger off my hand.
I have a hunch you’ll lose your lunch,
But now you understand.

My gift to you was overdue
I’m glad our game is done.
But wait one minute, your hand…what’s in it?!
Clean hands aren’t near as fun.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Be Careful Little Eyes What You See

15 months...

15 months and he's already picking up on SO MUCH!! I should be thankful right? I feel like I should be anyways. He's growing, he's learning, and he's mimicking as well. 

Do you know how easy it is to forget that he's in the car? I've never left him in the car before. I have forgotten that he was in the backseat while I was in the middle of some wonderful Texas traffic. God help me...I do a lot better with road rage most days, but every once in a while my attitude is not the most pleasant.

It's a bit scary at times to see how much he notices and mimics the things we do. We can stomp our feet like we're dancing, he'll dance right along. We can belt out an evil laugh, "Mu HAHAHA" and he chimes in with his own rendition. It usually sounds like, AH AH AH AH. It's pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

It's just a bit daunting to consider that although they pick up on all the cute and funny things that we try to teach them; they also pick up on those things we'd rather just forget about. The problem is that he was created with at least half of my character traits and half of Danae's. (This is my math of course, it could be give or take a few characteristics) Either way, I know myself, and that scares me. 

I mean yes, he got his good looks from daddy. He got his contagious charm from me as well, but did he get my temper? Did he get my tendency to go inside himself when he's frustrated (no, I don't think he actually got that one). I'd say he's fairly comfortable letting the world know when he's angry. 

Danae keeps reminding me how much he copies the things I do. I know somewhere down the road (and probably not too far down) I'm going to slip up. Say something I regret. Teach him something I wish I hadn't. React to something poorly, or even make a poor decision. I hope when those times come, he remembers the good things we teach. Isn't life all about balance?

We as parents have such a vital role in the development of our kids. My goal is for Emerson to be filled with the best characteristics that I can instill in him. I've got my own shortcomings and I work on those daily. Some days are worse than others. Every day when I come home from work, I try to take a second in my car to consider, "You've just punched out, now it's time to punch back in."

My job isn't done when I leave work for the day. My primary role in this season of life is a husband and a father. Work is secondary. I have no right to shut off when I walk through the front door. That's when my day should really start. Occasionally I'm all too eager to lose sight of that. Luckily, Emerson leaves little reminders in his actions that although I may not be paying attention to the effect I'm having on him, he's still watching.

"Daddy was using a hammer on the back door. I thought I'd use a wrench on the wall."

Monday, June 1, 2015

An Open Letter to My Obnoxious Wife

Dear Obnoxious Wife,

I wanted to write you an open letter to let you know exactly how I feel about you.

From the moment I walk through the front door at the end of my work day, I'm bombarded with hugs, kisses, and comments such as: "I love you", "How was your day?", and "What time would you like to eat dinner?" Just exactly who do you think you are? What about the occasional, "I'm thinking about taking Emerson out for a couple hours, would you enjoy some time to yourself?" Does it never end with you? How was I to know that I'd end up being the introvert in the family and need some alone time every once in a while? You noticed it as clear as day, and acted without hesitation.

I'll admit that I didn't know exactly what I'd be signing up for when I said those fateful words of "I do". But I know that I don't deserve this. How was I to know how much you'd infect me? How much you'd permeate and fix parts of me that I didn't even know were broken.

Your heart is too big.

I see the immense amount of compassion you have for others, how you relentlessly put other's needs before your own, even at the expense of your own discomfort or inconvenience. You just won't stop, will you? How many times do you need to see the smiling face of others, the kind words of thanksgiving before you're satisfied with doing beautiful things for those around you?

You're hurting my eyes.

In a world that's filled with darkness and filth, you hurt my eyes. Your words and actions shine so brightly that you illuminate everything you touch. Those you come into contact with don't even recognize how much you care and think of them.

Your prayers clearly go beyond the ceiling in our home. I'd dare say you're giving me plenty of practice patching all of the holes in our roof. Thanks a lot for that.

Oh, and thanks for being such a great mom. Anyone can see how much our child adores you. When he falls down and hurts himself (as every boy does), he'll run all around the house just to seek you out. And guess what, you're always there. I guess he must sense some sort of relief knowing that he's cared for, and loved so much.

So much love in this home.

Danae, you are the reason I much sometimes that my face hurts. Is it funny how occasionally it's the good things that cause physical pain? The laughter we've shared has led my stomach to ache.

You're the reason I dread having to stay late at work and why I rush to get things done. You're the reason I work hard to be more productive so that I don't have to lose any time with my family. You're the reason I have any drive to lead my family.

I don't deserve this, but I thank God that He saw fit to stick me with you.

Thanks a lot for eight years stuck in the same place with someone so wonderful.

You're my favorite,