Why I Love The Scab On My Forehead

This last weekend, my family took a trip to Kennewick, WA to visit some family.  We always enjoy packing up the family and taking a little road trip now and again.

My boys were most excited to stay in the hotel…..mainly because of the pool and breakfast.  They also look forward to the extra candy, video game time and soda at restaurants (I know, we’re pretty horrible parents)…I don’t blame them, that’s exciting stuff man!

After we finally arrived to the hotel, stretched our legs and headed up to our room, it was time to hit the water baby!  We threw on our trunks, anticipating some good fun!

After splashing around a little, things started to get serious.  Our Ninja Turtle inner tube suddenly became a Frisbee and my oldest looked like a shot put, being tossed through the air, landing with a dramatic splash and tons of “do it again dad!” pleas.  That’s fun stuff right there!

Next, it was dad’s turn to show off.  I decided to show Ben my under water back flip skills…..funny because it’s not even an awesome trick, ha!  So, I proceeded to flip around in 3ish feet of water and SMACK!, I hit my head on the bottom of the pool.  It actually was my forehead and part of my nose that took the brunt of my stupidity.  The “oh man, that’s gonna leave a mark” thought came to mind as I came to the surface.  “Hey Ben, do I have a red mark on my forehead?”  “Haha, yeah dad and it’s bleeding too!”  Thanks for the sympathy son.

So there you go, I had to attend a graduation party with a face that looked as though it got beat with a bar stool.  Awesome!

Really though, I don’t mind the little war scars created by having fun with my boys.  Here’s my point:  I would rather have a tooth knocked out or arm broken or eye blackened or forehead scraped vs. missing out on memories, sitting on the sidelines while my boys quickly become men.  Although I’m a scabby guy now, I look in the mirror and don’t see a scab on my face (ok, I guess I do, it’s hard to miss), I see a fun time and good laughs had by all.  That’s what life’s all about!  That’s what being a dad is all about!

So, bring on the scabs, scars or whatever!  I look forward to many more over the years…..hopefully small scars though, I’m getting old.

God Bless,

Paul

 

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My Simple Christmas Fun Last Night

kids carolsI experienced a rare moment last night…..Christmas simplicity.

My son’s school had it’s first annual Sing Along.  Basically it was a time for families to gather and sing Christmas songs, pretty simple.

We walked in the doors of the high school auditorium.  No frills, no elaborate decorations, only 3 garbage cans and smiling faces to greet us.  The garbage cans were for the canned food being collected to help the less fortunate.

We then took our seats in an uncrowded space and waited for the music to start.  We enjoyed small talk, and a slide show while teachers meddled around thanking folks for coming.

Then the pianist took stage and quietly started playing Charlie Brown music while everybody finished getting seated….it was really relaxing.  No fancy anything, only a piano and anticipation.

Finally, the music started and we sang and bobbed our heads and voted on which songs were our favorite.

The highlight of the night was getting to ring bells for a couple of songs because we happened to be in the front row.

After about 30 minutes the music was done, we got a small candy cane, hugged our friends goodbye and left fulfilled.

Christmas is a perfect time to be simple, to be cheesy, to be generous and to be joyful.  It’s a time to both reflect on our faith and attempt to wrap our minds around who Jesus Christ is.

I really hope that you all find a simple moment this season, like I did.  Heck, I hope you find numerous moments!  If you keep your eyes peeled and try to avoid the chaos, you’ll find those moments, I promise!

God Bless,

Paul

Why The Simpler Things Can Be Better

004Kids don’t typically care about fancy stuff.  As long as they’re entertained, they’re happy.

You know how it is….you spend a lot of money on a fancy toy, thinking the kids will be totally stoked and over-joyed…..and they may be excited for a moment…..until you come into the room and see them playing with a toilet paper roll, or a rock, or a box.  Meanwhile, that shiny, expensive toy is in the corner collecting dust.  Pretty funny.

A few weeks ago, I sent my wife away to the beach and the boys and I had a guy’s weekend.  We had a lot of fun eating junk food, watching baseball, bowling, farting, burping, etc.

Although we did a lot of fun things, sitting in the back of my truck, at the airport, eating burgers and watching airplanes was my favorite.  I think the boys enjoyed it too.  It was simple-fun, you know, memory stuff.

It seems like, at least with my boys, the experiences that cause life to slow down a little are what matter the most to them….the times where conversation is shared and time has no hold.

Don’t get me wrong, they love video games and new toys and shiny cool stuff.  Usually though, after a while, most of it ends up in the closet.

Finding that balance between shiny stuff and good ‘ol fashioned interaction is tough, especially in this day and age.  Kids are adaptable though and over time, they’ll follow our lead if we’re consistent and deliberate.

As a dad, I’m more interested in creating memories vs. stockpiling toys.  Hopefully my boys will find more value in relationships vs. stuff someday…..I think they’re on the right track.  For now, they’re just kids, figuring stuff out and I’m ok with that.

A great reward for me would be 20 years down the road….while drinking coffee or something, my boys start bringing up memories from their childhood.  The simple, good memories of laughs shared, experiences had and freedom felt.  I hope to experience this kind of reminiscing someday….God willing.

God Bless,

Paul

 

The Day I Witnessed Freedom on the Dance Floor

Kid DancingWe went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago and we had a great time.  It’s always a beautiful thing to see two people come together, in love, with Christ at the center.

My youngest son, Will didn’t care much for the ceremony, the sitting and the waiting.  I guess you can’t blame him for that.  He was only concerned with one thing…….when the dancing would start.  The dude loves to dance.  Seriously, his little 2-year-old body is a never-ending ball of energy.

When the evening sky grew dim, the overhead lights became brighter and the temperature began to cool, it was time.  It was time to get down on the dance floor!

From the second the music started, to the second we left, the dude was cutting a rug like no one else.  Jump’n, jive’n, shake’n, spin’n, you name it, he made it happen.  He was a dancing machine and quite the popular fellow.

I found myself joining others in just staring at him, smiling, clapping and cheering him on.  There was something so simple and refreshing about observing him just being a kid, oblivious to the world around him, lost in the beats and the rhythms and the lights leaping off the floor.  He was free.  Perhaps our admiration of him had something to do with our own desire to let loose.

Dang, I want that kind of freedom.  As adults, I think we would all give our left arm for it.

Somewhere along the line, we lost the ability to fully relax, kick our feet up and just be ourselves….the once-common freedom that we had as kids seems to be buried beneath the responsibilities of life.

So we’re left searching for those moments of inspiration, sometimes vicariously through little kids.  Thank God for them.  They’re great teachers.

Sure, I’m partial to my little guy, but honestly, he inspires me.  Through all of the “why’s” and “how come’s” and “what kind’s” and “why not’s” lies an innocent, joy-filled heart that’s made of gold.

I think there’s a reason why God uses children as examples in the bible.  He wants us to be simple like them.  Not only in our faith, but in the way we question, in the way we interact, in the way we love and in the way we live…..maybe, just maybe, that’s the beginning of true freedom.

“For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.” – Matthew 18:3 (MSG)

God Bless,

Paul