Why It’s Ok That My Son Doesn’t Play Sports

016My oldest son, Ben is such a cool kid.  He’s smart, caring, loving and pretty darn handsome.

A little while back, we had a conversation that I never thought we would have…..he told me that he wanted to take a break from sports.

To be honest, my first reaction was to convince him to stick it out.  I tried to sway him with my best arguments, but to no avail.

He had played soccer for a few seasons and he was getting really good at it.  I thought he should keep playing.  I thought he should keep practicing and getting better.  I thought it was fun to see him practice.  I enjoyed being outdoors with the family, I enjoyed…..I, I, I, I, I.  There’s a lot of I’s there, I know.  It’s about Ben, not me, right?

As Ben and I continued talking about his reasons for not playing, I learned something:  Ben’s likes and dislikes are different from my likes and dislikes.  It’s a pretty simple concept really, but it’s been a little challenging for me.

So, to try something new, he wanted to learn how to cook.  My wife, Pam is so amazing in the kitchen and luckily, she’s open to sharing her skills with Ben.  It’s been really cool to see.

We also got him plugged into Cub Scouts.  What a neat, old-fashioned deal they have going there.

Oh yeah, he’s having fun learning how to swim as well.

Excitement, passion and contentment are shining through his big blue eyes as he pursues these new interests.  That excites me and it blesses me.

The truth is, I need to be supportive no matter what he pursues.  More than that, I need to walk beside him in love as his interests change and mature.

As a dad, I want the best for my son.  I’m learning a very important lesson as I see Ben grow:  Happiness and character don’t just exist once we reach the final destination….it’s the steps along the way that mold us most.    The journey is where we discover God’s purpose for our lives….our passion or calling, so to speak.

That’s where Ben is right now.  He’s finding his footing in life.  What a cool journey to witness and be a part of.

My job is to be there, always, with supportive words, fist bumps, forehead kisses and a whole bunch of “I’m proud of you’s.”

Truthfully, this isn’t only Ben’s journey, this is my adventure too.

God Bless,

Paul

The Day I Flipped Kids Off in the School Bus

School busI was driving home from work today and found myself stopped at a traffic light.  Next to me was a car with 2 little girls in the back seat….maybe 4-6 years old.  I could see them looking over at me, trying to get my attention….you know, kid stuff.  I ignored them for a second and then suddenly looked over with the cheesiest smile that I could muster and waved wildly.  They started giggling, probably soaking in the success of getting an adult to react.  Glad I could contribute!

Rewind about 15 years or so and the story was completely different.

I was about 20, driving around, running an errand or something.  A bus full of school kids was in front of me and we stopped at an intersection.  The kids in the back were staring, being goofy…..you know, kid stuff.  I ignored them for a second and then suddenly looked up and…….flipped them the bird!  That’s right, I did it.  They looked shocked and patted each other on the back while other kids came to peek at the crazy guy in the car behind them.

Why did I react in such an immature way?  I’m not sure.  Maybe I was having a bad day, maybe I was insecure, maybe I was just being an idiot….yeah, probably the last one.  Either way, it wasn’t the proudest moment of my life.  15 years later, it did teach me a lesson though.

As I waved at the girls today, something dawned on me…..I am a completely different person now, than I was then.  I’m not just talking about maturity, I’m talking about motivations, perspective and heart change.

I would never even consider flipping off a bunch of kids…..kind of funny to write that sentence.  Really though, I just wanted to make those girls laugh…you know, have a story to tell their mom or whoever, that’s all.  I don’t know them, but I love them because their kids, God’s kids.

I think that’s my simple take away.  God has changed my heart.  He’s molding, bending and refining my heart to kind of look like His.  Because of that, I look at people differently, love differently, serve differently and just be me differently, it’s pretty wild.

Any who, He can do that to your heart too.  I’m sure there’s silly, dumb stuff that you’ve done….maybe you’re still doing it.  Hope and change are available to each of us, free of charge, debt paid on a wooden cross by a Guy named Jesus.

Think about it, soak it in, that heart change could be right around the corner!

God Bless,

Paul

 

 

The Liebster Award!!

liebster-award-logo

The Liebster award is a chain award that was created by bloggers and is a tradition to make new friends in the blogging community.

 

Hello Fellow Bloggers!!!

So a cool thing happened…..I was recently nominated by Pam from https://honeybearbooks.wordpress.com for this award and I’m totally honored! I’ve been doing this blogging thing for about 2 years, and it’s been a great growing experience. Thanks to all of you for your support and kindness!

Now for the rules:

– Link back to the person who nominated you
– Give 11 random facts about yourself
– Answer 11 questions from your nominator
– Nominate 11 new and obscure bloggers
– Come up with 11 questions for them to answer
– Inform your nominees

My 11 random facts:

1. I’m a Green Bay Packers fan!

2. I love basketball.

3. Enjoy a fine craft beer…bring on the IPA’s!

4. I have 2 handsome sons.

5. I absolutely love the Oregon coast!  My wife and I dream of retiring there someday.

6. I’m a Christian.

7. I love yard work….I know, it’s weird.

8. I pretty much get elated when cherry blossoms start to bloom.

9. I have a HUGE passion for children.  Someday, my dream is to work with them full-time in some capacity….working on this one.

10. I enjoy some good 90’s music….BEST DECADE OF MUSIC EVER!!!!!!

11. My favorite color is blue.

Questions from my nominator:

1. Have you read any books recently by an author whose new to you?  Bob Goff – “Love does” – He’s an amazing dude.

2. Is there a single item, a treasured possession that you never leave the house without?  My wallet.  Pretty boring answer, but it’s true!

3. The typical physical book vs ebook vs audio book debate, which do you prefer?  Physical books for sure, I’m old school.

4. What is one place you’ve always wanted to travel to? (This can either be a fictional or non fictional place) Italy…..I’m not Italian, but I love the food and culture there.

5. Favorite quote from a book you’ve read recently?  Can’t think of one.

6. Which book genre do you prefer above all others?  Lawyers stuff or Christian stuff.

7. Which author would be your best friend? Donald Miller…..seems like a really cool dude.

8. If you could pick an era to live in which one would you choose? 1950’s I think.  I’m definitely old fashioned for sure.

9. Do you have any bookish habits? I like to make it to the next chapter while reading…..if I don’t fall asleep first!

10. How do you organize your books? I don’t, they’re just placed on bookshelves.

11. Who is your favorite book character and why? Hmmm, I’m really not sure.  I love Jesus and if He’s the focus of a book, I guess I’ll pick Him!

The blogs I nominate:

David @  http://gospelrelevance.com/about/

Brandon @ http://brandonandress.com/2015/04/03/i-dont-need-your-legislation-a-good-friday-litany/

Dan  @  http://danfrugalberg.com/me/

NOTN Crew @  https://notofthenorm.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/why-the-goodness-of-today-matters/

Lexi @ http://www.scribblesandcrumbs.com/meet-lexi/

Andrew @ https://adoptingjames.wordpress.com/who-am-i/

Marcy @ http://marcyholder.com/about/

My questions for the nominees:

Congratulations to the nominees, I look forward to seeing your answers!!

1- Who’s your favorite author?

2- What’s your favorite kind if icecream?

3- Physical book or Ereader?

4- A place you’d love to travel to?

5- You favorite vacation spot?

6- Your absolute favorite food?

7- Favorite decade of music?

8- Biggest pet peeve?

9- Night or morning person?

10- What’s been your biggest challenge with writing?

11- Why did you start a blog?

Thanks for playing along, and congrats Liebster nominees!

Why Kids Are Like Dogs

kid and dogI love kids.  I love their simplicity.  I love their trust.  I love their freedom and I love their grace.

In fact, I get energized by just being around the little squirts.  Similar to catching the wind draft of a passing truck, their little spirits cause mine to sway and turn and lift a little.  They remind me of who I was and who I should be……myself.

I’m the proud dad of 2 handsome young men.  They have my heart and I’m gratefully humbled by the responsibility of leading them.

We also have a dog named Sami.  It’s a love/hate relationship really…..mainly on my part.  I like dogs I guess, but I don’t LOVE them.  My wife is the one who would do anything for our little fury, “first-born daughter.”

One thing that I do appreciate about dogs in general is how easily they forgive.  You can scold, yell and discipline them like crazy.  The next minute, those slobbery faces are covering you with kisses.  All is forgotten.  Time to move on and have fun again.  Life is good!

I think kids and dogs carry a strong resemblance in this regard.

There’s been days where I’ve completely lost my temper, thrown one of my boys in their room, slammed the door and left them there to think about the consequences.  Then, when I’ve cooled off a bit, I’ll slink back to their room at half-posture, asking forgiveness for my tantrum.

ALMOST EVERY SINGLE TIME, they give me a hug, wipe the tears and forgive me.  It’s a prime example of Christ’s love for us really.  Unconditional, grace-filled love….it’s a beautiful thing.

I’m grateful that I’m allowed to be less-than-perfect with my boys.  Love and trust definitely override the mess ups.

As a Christian, we are told to forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive again…not because we have to….but because we GET to.  Afterall, we have been forgiven, right?  Every day we are forgiven by a God that loves us, made possible by a certain Sacrifice by an amazing Man/God named Jesus.

I wonder if God put kids and dogs together in this world as reminders of forgiveness to all of us……I wouldn’t doubt it……I really think God has a sense of humor…..in fact, I’m convinced of it!

God Bless,

Paul

 

What Hangs From My Rearview Mirror

Cross from rearview mirrorI think a lot when I’m driving.  I’ve come to a lot of realizations, sifted through confusion and cried a few tears while rolling along the pavement, going from place to place.

It’s a comfortable space, free from distractions.  A sentimental oasis if you will.

Do you have something in your vehicle that means a lot to you? Maybe it’s a reminder of a past time, a picture of the family, or a random something found somewhere that brings you peace or comfort?

I have a few things that are meaningful reminders in my truck.  The item of most significance is the cross hanging from my rearview mirror.  It’s always there.  No matter my mood, no matter my circumstances, no matter the weather, no matter my frustrations, the cross is always there, peacefully swaying with every turn and bump.  It doesn’t change, it just simply is.

In a way, our relationship with God holds many similarities.  Although we can all be temperamental, fickle and shallow at times, God is still there, just the same as He was yesterday and He’ll stay the same forever (Hebrews 13:8).  We’re the ones who change.  We’re the ones who pull away.  We’re the ones who get distracted.  Here’s the cool part, God’s always there……but instead of swaying from a rearview mirror, He’s reaching out a hand to you, to me, to all of us……joyfully waiting for us to experience true life, in sync with Him!

Sometimes I reach up and hold that little cross in my hands, giving thanks for all Jesus has done for me.  I’m grateful that even though I change, Christ remains constant….full of love, power and grace.

Consistency is a rarity these days.  I’ll take it!

God Bless,

Paul

 

 

I Have a Confession and an Invitation

imageMy whole life, I’ve struggled so much with a certain weakness.  It’s something that not all folks struggle with, but we’re all affected by at some point in our lives.  It’s called fear.  It can take many forms and can stop us from being who we are designed to be.  It can be crippling.

My particular fear has been regarding other people, what they think of me.  It stems from when I was bullied as a kid.  I took every insult to heart.  It stained my insides pretty bad.  As an adult, I have learned to work against this fear, with God’s help of course, but it’s still there…every single day.

For the last year or so, I have let this fear affect my spiritual life, my “witness” so to speak.  I’ve avoided conversations with others about Jesus, I’ve slowed down on writing, I’ve been afraid of being too bold about my faith for fear of rejection.  It’s sad, but it’s the truth.

It’s not that I stopped believing or anything, it’s that I lost focus on WHY I believed in Jesus.  I don’t think this is an abnormal thing, but it’s a place that I never want to get too comfortable in.  In all reality, it’s been pretty selfish on my part.

The good news is that I’m coming out of this fog.  I’ve just kept praying, reading, surrendering and remaining open to God’s leading.  I guess perseverance would be the word to describe it…….such imperfect perseverance.  God is faithful though.  I believe that He sometimes allows these times of disconnect, because He wants us to seek Him.  He wants us to reach out to Him.  He wants to remind us of what life feels like apart from Him.  Sometimes folks push away during these times and I can understand that.  I’ve had my own moments of pushing away.  I encourage you to dig in though.  Be stubborn and refuse to let those dark clouds hold residence over your life.

To those of you who are scared or nervous to share their faith, I urge you to be bold, be courageous, be confident and most of all, be full of love.  We’re not expected to have all the answers to life’s mysteries.  Our role is to have open arms and loving hearts to ALL people, despite their differences, creeds, interests, beliefs, etc.

Today, more than ever, we need lights to shine and salt to flavor.  That light and salt is you, it’s me, it’s all of us who believe in Christ.

Please join me in seeking more.  In giving more.  In serving more.  In sharing more.  In loving more.  Jesus will take care of the rest, I promise.

God Bless,

Paul

 

You Ever Do This?

Past and FutureI’ve been doing a lot of internal reflection lately.  I have these seasons where I evaluate who I am, what direction I’m heading and where God may be leading me.

I typically like to look to the past to see where I’ve been and who I’m becoming.

My writing has been inconsistent lately.  To be honest, I’ve questioned if this whole writing thing was just a phase, a season if you will.

So, I started digging into my life archives and remembered a time in elementary school, I think it was 6th grade or something.  We used to have free-writing times, where we could create stories and share them with the class.  I was kind of the class clown and my stories were pretty goofy.  I remember that they always made people laugh.  You know, characters falling off cliffs, swinging from vines and crazy, rough-boy stuff like that.  I remember my classmates being engaged in my stories and how easy it was for me to put my stories together.

I then remembered my college days.  How I threw a 2o+ page paper together in a few hours, in the middle of the night.  The words just flowed on to the paper and they actually kind of made sense!

Strangely, these memories encouraged me.  I’m grateful for that.

I’m a little different from other folks in that, while other’s live in the past and struggle with moving forward, I often live in the present and forget to use my past as a tool.  There’s so much to learn from our past….I’m discovering this more and more as I get older.

So, in regards to my writing, I guess I’ll just keep hitting these keys and try to remain open to the direction that my words take me.  Maybe I would actually be disobeying my calling if I didn’t keep my fingers moving.

The answer isn’t clear just yet, but I figured I would continue this weird path towards self-discovery, my writing and my calling.

God is good, He’s got this and I trust Him.

God Bless,

Paul