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finding meaning in the mundane

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The Journey of Faith

Gowesky FamilyIt has been quiet here these past few months, but it has been anything but quiet in my head and my heart.  I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions with my brain barely getting a chance to slow down before heading into another loop or twist.  Throughtout these past months my wife Tiffany and I have come to the conclusion that we are about to start on a new adventure.  With that in mind, this past Sunday I announced to my church that I am stepping down as the campus pastor in Nutley.

One of the things I have loved most about being the campus pastor in Nutley was that I had the privilege of walking along side of men and women who were taking their next steps in their journey of faith.  We’ve said all along that faith is a journey, not a guilt trip.  And I believe that to be true!  I have loved watching people step into our church for the first time to then find their spiritual home at Liquid Nutley.  One of my favorite things to hear people say about our church has been that the Nutley campus feels like family.  Welcoming people home has been a privilege of mine for these past few years.  But I have enjoyed watching as people learn what their next step is in their journey of faith.

Crestwood RoadNine months ago, Tiffany and I began to pray and ask God to show us what the next step would be in our journey of faith.  We were waking up early every day and praying, and asking God to show us.  Through several months of praying, reading, and listening, I am excited to share with you that we are about to set out on this next leg of our journey.  God is leading our family to Florida.

It is a bittersweet transition for us here in the Gowesky household.  For Tiffany and I, we are leaving behind many great relationships here in NJ.  We are leaving a church that we love and that has loved us well.  We are leaving the taxes of NJ behind (okay, that’s more sweet than bitter).  Our kids are saying goodbye to their school and friends that they have really grown to love over these past few years.

moving podsBut we are confident of this… God has been faithful in the past, and He will be faithful in the present.  We know that we are in good hands.

So these next few weeks are going to be filled with adventure.  We will be making the 1200 mile journey over the course of several days and then we will begin the process of settling in.  Stay tuned for more info about the journey!

~Peter

 

SNOW: Why I’m begging for more

Living just outside of New York City means that when Old Man Winter rolls in we have the opportunity for snow from time to time.  So far the 2015 version of himsel hasn’t been too bad.  We narrowly missed the #Snowpocalypse of 2015 which have led many to call it #Snowgate 2015.  We may not have gotten three feet, but we did end up with somewhere between 6-9 inches.  And people bought a ton of eggs, bread and milk!  I guess our region will be having an awful lot of french toast this winter.

The kids absolutely loved sledding, building snow forts, avoiding yellow snow, throwing snow balls, and everything else that kids do in snow.  I loved the snow too–but for different reasons.  I loved the snow because I’m a visual guy.  I need to see something, and the snow is one of God’s incredible gifts to us.  Yeah, I said it.

The Snow is one of God’s gifts to us.

Here’s why… Psalm 51:7 says,

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Snow covers over everything.

Few things are exempt from it’s cloaking power.  With every flake that falls, the canvas grows whiter and whiter.  Everything looks fresh and clean after a good snowfall.  It covers all the ugliness left behind by fall.  All the decaying things and all the brittle brokenness of this world.  It reminds me of how God has “covered” my sins because of what Jesus did on the cross.  How Jesus forgave the ugliness, brokeness and sin in my life so that I can know God and be in His presence.  The fact that Jesus was willing to pay the penalty for what I rightly deserved is something that I can never forget.

Snow

Get this free printable resource from “the Happy Life Blog”

 

Snow reflects the light.

A fresh blanket of snow in the afternoon sun can blind just about anyone.  Especially after you’ve come out of the drab interior of your winter hibernation.  Your eyes can barely contain all of the light that is bouncing around off of every snowflake.  It reminds me of how we have been set in this world to reflect the Light of the world–Jesus.  God’s forgiveness washes us white as snow and makes it so that we can shine brightly in this world!

I’m a summer kind of guy, I can’t wait to be sitting on the beach with sand in my toes…  but everynow and then boots in the snow are good too!

~Peter

And just for fun, here are my crazy kids out in the snow!

Snow

Noah

Snow Cover

Grace

Snow

Leah

 

4 Ways to Intentionally Parent Your Kids

Intentional ParentingThis past week I had the privilege to travel down to Leon, Nicaragua with a team from my church to drill a clean water well in a remote village.  It was an incredible experience which I will share more about later.   Our trip had us out from Saturday to Saturday.  This was the longest time that I have been away from my family in a long time.  You know the old saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”?  Well I think it is absolutely true because, man, I missed this clan.  What a privilege it is to be their parent.  We are a crazy bunch, but we do know how to have fun along the way.  I’m so thankful for my wife and kids.  Throughout the trip I had plenty of time to slow down and think about what it means to be a dad.

In my book “Empowered” (available on Amazon for all you Kindle readers) I shared this thought about the American Life and one of the dangers that we face…

When we scurry through life at the maddening pace of the culture around us, we run the risk of losing out on what is most important.  We walk dangerously close to missing out on the sole purpose for why we are still breathing.

Mom’s and Dad’s, in this season of life God has tasked you with the incredible responsibility and privilege of loving, shaping, & leading your kids.  Don’t miss out on this!  The one thing that I hear consistently from parents farther ahead of me is that it goes by incredibly fast.  No one ever says, “Parenting dragged on for years and years…”  No, they ALWAYS talk about how quick it went.

So if it goes by that quickly, shouldn’t we be intentional with every moment?

Here are 4 ways that we can be intentionally shaping and pouring our life into our kids.

1.  Laugh

We are huge fans of laughter in my house.  We are always laughing, sometimes it’s at my antics, I’m not afraid to say that.  And other times it is over a good book, a funny movie, or a card game we are playing.  I want to hear my kids laughing, and I want them to hear me laughing.  Laughter is good for the heart and good for the soul.  I tell people all the time that Tiffany and I survived the early years of marriage and parenting by laughing our way through it.  And yes, more often than not we were laughing at our kids, and recently we have been laughing with our kids.  They say some of the funniest things.  Right now my 3 1/2 year old is calling all of those festive orange globular shaped gourds “punknicks”.  It took me a moment to figure out what she was saying, but then I realized she was trying to say pumpkin.  If children don’t make you laugh then you aren’t listening hard enough.  Lean in and listen, and have a good belly laugh.

2.  Be Fully Present

We have become amazingly good at appearing to be focused on those around us while we process a ton of other content at the same time.  We split our energy all the time.  We give some to the person we are talking with, while we give some to our iPhone, to the music in the background, or to whatever other thought is running through our mind at that moment.  Give your kids your full attention and presence.  I have to be honest, this is one that is difficult for me.  It is hard for me to sit on the couch and watch “Pippi Longstocking” and not check email, or scan through the news of that day.  I need to fight against that urge, and chances are I’m not alone in this.

3.  Play

I’ve said this before publicly and I will say it here as well.  We need to play with our kids.  This means getting down on the ground, and wrestling with our kids.  It could mean building lego’s, playing clash of clans, learning mine craft, or having a tea party with all the dollies.  Kids long to see you step out of your work uniform and into the role of mom and dad.  They want to know that you understand them, and playing shows that you do.

4.  Listen

Typically I would say that we need to listen to our kids, and I think that is true, but I am becoming increasingly convinced that we need to be listening to ourselves too.  We need to listen to what voice is directing us in that moment.  Are we speaking from the voice of one who is frustrated?  Are we speaking from the voice of mercy?  Or is it the voice of justice, or Grace?  Our conversation with our kids will change dependent upon the voice that is directing us.  Listen and figure it out.

Time with our kids goes by too fast for us not to be intentional with it.

~Peter

The Radar

ListsHere are some of the things that have been on my radar…   There is no rhyme, or reason.  This is just a list of things that I’ve been digging and checking out.

Penultimate

This is an incredible note taking application for the iPad.  It allows me to keep a digital notebook that is searchable and is linked up to evernote!  They sell a bluetooth pen that you can use to connect up to allow for better writing…  I’d love to check that out, but so far I’m using the JUST Moblie stylus and it is working well.  The beauty of this is it allows for note taking the way you would with a pen and paper, but it can be organized even better, and you aren’t lugging around a heavy notebook.  Peace out 3 ring binder… Hello Penultimate.Bahia Honda State Park Flordia

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Where Have I Been?

As many of you know, I tweet occasionally, and one of the funniest replies  that I received to one of my tweets recently was from someone saying,

@pgowesky thought this was a blog post for a second, and got all excited!!

Cavapoo PuppyIn my head, I said, “Ah, sorry, I think I’m gonna let you down, it’s not a blog post.  It’s probably just another picture of our new puppy…”  My goal is to write three times a week here at petergowesky.com.  But these past several weeks have just been so hard to crank it out! So, I don’t want to make excuses for why there haven’t been a plethora of posts here, but I do want to fill you in on what’s been going on in my world in the time between this post and the last.

Here’s the rundown…

1.  Did I mention that we got a puppy?  Cooper is an incredible addition to our little family.  We are so thankful to have him… when he isn’t chewing on my shoes, he is happily trotting right behind me, following me wherever I go!  So CUTE!  I can’t take it…

2.  Tiffany, the kids, and I headed out to Texas to visit my mom and sisters.  It was a great time to relax and catch up with those we love so much in the country of Texas, er… state.  We spent time getting our fill of good chips and salsa, shooting guns, and playing with cousins.  It was such a nice time to be away.

3.  I slept.  I’ll be honest, I was getting really tired.  I think I hit the snooze button way too many times.  My early morning routine got thrown for a loop in this past month.  But we are in a new year and it’s time to get back into the rhythms of writing and reading.

4.  I took time off from writing here at the blog to put some of the finishing touches on another writing project that I have been working on.  I am in the midst of wrapping up my first manuscript that will be released in the next few months… I am so excited to share this with you.  My hope is that this project is practical and encouraging to all who read it.  Stay tuned for more details about this one!

Those are just a few of the big things that have been going on in these past few weeks.  What have you been up to?  I’d love to hear…

So… Check back here regularly, or ‘like’ my Facebook page to get updates sent to you as soon as they are posted.  Either way, I’d love to stay connected with you in this new year.  I’m excited for what God has in store for 2014!

~Peter

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