finding meaning in the mundane

Tag: Family (page 1 of 4)

Life Through a Kid’s Eyes

The other night was back to school night at my kids school.  It’s funny, as a kid, I never liked back to school night, parent teacher conferences or anything else that provided an opportunity for my teachers to tell my parents how A.D.D. I was.  (that’s code for, ‘I got in trouble a lot’)  Now that I am a parent I can’t wait to get in and see what my kids are doing all day long in their classrooms.  I loved the 17.5 minutes that I was able to interact with their teachers.  I love getting a chance to see their classroom pets: Mr. Leaper the frog, and a tank of mealworms.  Truth be told, Mr. Leaper was far cooler than those nasty worms.  (Sorry Noah, your classroom definitely drew the short straw.)

Parenting Pro-tip: when naming a pet, or stuffed animal, or anything that your child will carry around with them, it is always cooler to add Mr. to the name.  Think about it, how much cooler would those worms have been if they were named Mr. Mealworm and his gang of creepy friends.  I’m just saying, Leah’s Mr. Bear, and Noah’s Mr. Bailey are two very beloved stuffed animals in our house.  They are way higher on the social ladder than Grace’s “Ellie”.

See I told you I was a bit A.D.D.  Anyway… Continue reading

4 Ways To Stay Intentionally Married

MarriageTonight Tiffany and I are going out to celebrate our 9 year anniversary!  We were married on August 7th, 2004.  Okay, so the celebrations are a little off by a few days, but whose counting, right?  Over the course of 9 years we have moved 8 times, served in 3 different churches, had 3 children, and remodeled 2 homes.  We have gone through our share of ups and downs.  Yet, she is still my best friend, and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without her.  The other day she went to the Women of Faith Conference in Philadelphia which meant that she left us for Friday and Saturday.  Listen, I am not complaining, grumbling, or looking for the congratulatory wow-you-made-it pat on the back.  I am a dad, not a babysitter.  I should be able to feed, bathe, and clothe my kids so that my wife can get away and recharge.  Doing the girls hair?  That’s another story.  While she was gone, I found myself thinking, everything is more fun with her around.

I realize that God has blessed me beyond what I deserve with a loving wife and best friend.  This doesn’t happen overnight.  We have worked hard to make sure that we stay in love, and that we continue to develop our friendship together.  Here are 4 practical ways that we stay intentionally married.

1.  Delayed Dinner

Every now and then Tiffany and I will feed the kids and then get them in bed before we sit down and enjoy a meal together.  There is nothing worse than seeing Tiffany work so hard on an awesome meal only to have it be peppered with arguing children.  It is so enjoyable to slow things down and share a meal together- just the two of us.

2.  Laugh at the kids

Yes.  I said at, not with.  We make sure that we laugh AT our kids.  Why not?  They are so funny!  They are consistently providing us with quality entertainment.  Have you seen this video?  Man, that’s a throw back.  But it cracks me up every time.  When the kids are going crazy, and the house is filled with noise, loose lego pieces and creepy dolls laying facedown, Tiffany and I have to just look at each other and laugh.  This is a crazy life, but it’s our life.  Laughing helps!

3. What are 3 things you want to do?

That is a question that we have gotten in the habit of asking each other on Thursday night.  It helps because it clarifies the expectations that we each have for the next day.  It also ensures that we are taking care of the other person’s needs.  Here’s an example of one of my things… I told Tiffany the other day that I wanted to just enjoy my cup of coffee on the porch.  That may sound like nothing, but that was huge to me.  The ‘3 things’ do not have to be big, but it has been so healthy and meaningful to us.

4. Put your spouse first

We live in a culture that adores our kids.  I get it.  I love my kids too.  There is little else that brings me as much joy as my kids.  But there should be at least two things that bring me more joy than they do; my relationship with God, and my relationship with my wife.  If I have my relationships out of order than I am going to be setting myself up for failure.  I put my relationships in this order, God, Tiffany, Kids, and then my ministry.  I am a better husband when I am a better follower of Jesus.  I am a better dad when I am a better husband, and I am a better pastor when everything before it has been well taken care of.  We need to be careful that we love our kids, not worship them.  Practically this means that sometimes we won’t make everyone of Noah’s soccer games because we have something as a family that is more important.

What else would you add to the list?  How do you stay intentionally married.  Leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear it.


Scraped Knees= Shepherding Opportunities

Bleeding KneeMy kids have fallen down- many times.  In fact it happened recently.  Noah fell and scraped up his elbow pretty badly.  When we were trying to bandage it up he said, “IT BURNS LIKE LAVA!”  Ah to have the mind of a six year old again…

My kids have made mistakes.  They have written on walls, gotten pen on the couch, spilled milk, disobeyed, talked back, and been obstinate.  They have found that there is a whole lot of life that they want to explore and boundaries that they want to push.

These are the times as parents that are incredibly hard, right?  When your kid is in pain, pain so bad that it can only be likened to “burning like fire”, you want to take that away for them.  You wish that you could bear the pain on their behalf so that they didn’t have to feel it.  When I watch one of my kids fall, my whole body cringes, not because I am hurting, but because I know that they will be.

It is hard as a parent to watch and experience your children disobey, make poor decisions, and mistakes.  If you don’t believe me ask any parent of a teenager, they will tell you it is hard!

These are the moments when parenting is tough.

It is in these moments that parents have to step in and show their children that their is a better way.  There is a safer way to get from one side of the pool to the other than by running.  There is a reason why we don’t color with markers on the couch.  There is a reason why we eat over our plates.  All of this is for a reason.

When our children disobey, as parents we have to have the difficult discussion about why obedience is important.  We have to discuss why attitude is everything.  We have to talk about forgiveness.  We must teach our kids how to say sorry.  All of these things are important to teach lovingly and graciously to our children.

The Prophet Ezekiel

The Prophet Ezekiel by Michaelangelo

In the book of Ezekiel, God speaks through the prophet Ezekiel and tells his people that they haven’t been shepherding, or taking care of His people.  God reveals the condition of the shepherds heart as well as the condition of the flock.  Neither one is doing very well.

You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the disease you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.  They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered.

~Ezekiel 34:3-5

God speaks through Ezekiel and is trying to get the attention of those who are taking care of God’s flock, or God’s people.  This passage is challenging to me both as a parent and as a pastor.  It makes me ask the question, am I caring for the people that God has entrusted to me?

What about you? I don’t care if you are a pastor, or a parent.  A father, or a friend.  Are you lovingly guiding and caring for those that God has placed in your life?  How do you help your kids, friends, etc… know that you care?


I couldn’t be more proud of my boy!

In a recent parent teacher conference Noah’s teacher said that she has never had a student care about others like Noah does. WOW, right? I mean as a parent I am so proud of him.  I was expecting to hear that my kid was the weird kid that stands in front of the urinal with his pants at his ankles.  AWKWARD.  But no!  Instead she surprises us with great stuff!  Then, I get this video from Tiffany today.  This just put me over the edge.  So, indulge me for a minute.

I could not be more proud of Noah, not because he wants to follow in my footsteps, but because God is developing a really soft spot in his heart for people! I LOVE THIS about him.  This reminds me to keep praying for each one of my kids.  I love them, and believe that God has something really special in store for each of them.

What are you praying about for your kids?  


Puddles and Perspective

As many of you know, my life is in the midst of a major transition.  Recently I have resigned from my position as youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Doylestown and I have accepted an associate pastor position at Liquid Church in Morristown NJ.  My life meets the pre-req’s for the term transitional to apply.  I am living in one state, and working in another.  Our front yard is decorated with a large “for sale” sign.  The attic is ready to explode with the amount of boxes that are shoved up in there.

Our life is in the midst of a transition.

Transitions are crazy right?  If you’ve been through one, then you know what I am talking about.  Some of you may have moved, changed jobs, or added children to your family–all of these things create a massive disruption to your version of normal.  I was on the phone this morning and I said, “I can’t wait to get back to a version of normal”.  See, normal is relative.  Right now is anything but normal.  That is okay–because it is a time of transition.  Right now, I can say to myself, NORMAL WILL RETURN!

But, during this time of transition, life is crazy!  I am driving more now than I have ever driven before.  I am learning a whole new language, a new organization, and a new work culture.  I am farther from home more often than ever before.  Things do not feel normal.

In the midst of this transition there are several things that are constant.  I am still a dad to my three kids, and I am still a husband.  This has not changed, nor will it ever change.  The hard part is trying to figure out how to balance being the best daddy to these three precious children and being the best husband to my wife all while living in the midst of crazy amounts of commotion.

Daddy and KidsStarting last week our church kicked off a Wednesday night worship and prayer service as a part of our Revive Series.  It will run up until the week before Easter.  The idea is that on Wednesday we would fast and pray and end our day with corporate prayer and worship.  (Aussie Dave blogged about it here.)  Last week was my first week at Liquid, and my first week participating in the church wide fast.   We were challenged by Pastor Tim to pray about what we should fast and bring before God.  I knew quickly what I was fasting for.  It was clear, and obvious.  I was to be fasting for my wife and my kids.  I specifically was asking God to watch over and protect my family.  I was asking God to meet their needs since I couldn’t.  Simply put, it was me asking God to do what I couldn’t.

That Wednesday afternoon I had to walk to the store to get some ice for the evening, and I was praying for Grace, my 5 year old.  She was having a particularly hard day emotionally.  I was on my way back from the 7-11, awkwardly carrying three bags of ice when I noticed several common sparrows flitting about on the ground ahead of me.  I paused to watch them for just a few brief moments and then I noticed what they were doing.

Birds on the SidewalkThe sparrows were dancing around a small puddle that had formed in the low area of the sidewalk, and they were drinking from this pool.  I watched one sparrow in particular crane its neck forward in order to swallow up a small amount of water.  I was reminded in that moment how much God cared for these sparrows.  Those sparrows were being taken care of by God through that puddle. I thought of my daughter, Grace, and how much I wanted God to take care of her emotions.  I thought of my wife, Tiffany, and how much I wanted God to give her strength.  I thought of my son, Noah, and how much I wanted God to protect him and watch over him.  I thought of my 1 year old daughter, Leah, and how much I wanted her to know that her daddy loves her.

And then I thought of how much God takes care of these sparrows.  I was reminded of what Jesus says in Matthew 10:29-31,

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

It was in that moment that God comforted me and reminded me that they are really his children, and He’s got it all under control.  Even when I don’t feel it!  Tiffany is His daughter whom He values more than I ever could.

It still feels crazy.  But I am thankful that God is a God who handles all of the transitions.


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