Where did 2011 go?

Here it is, Jan 2012, and I am realizing that I didn’t get a single post in 2011. Crazy. High on the resolution list is to do more updates to my blog this year. Once a week maybe. We’ll just have to see. I feel resolved now, but tomorrow will usher in new feelings and more activity and that is just the way things go.

I do have good news to share though. I had my 4 year checkup for kidney cancer this past week and it came back all clear. So I’m good for at least another 10,000 miles or something. ;) In all seriousness, though, it was a harrowing experience going back in for a scan after having not even really thought much about it in 12 months. It seems that the time that passed has only made me more nervous about something showing up or about the cancer rearing its ugly head again. Which, logically, is kind of crazy because every year that goes by actually makes it less likely that anything will reoccur. Well we are not promised tomorrow and this week I got a good reminder of that. Another frustration is that the further away I get from actually going through having cancer the more I revert to “life as normal” which for me means I take things for granted and get caught up in silly things and the busyness of life that makes time go by so quickly. I was reminded this week to slow down. All we have is today so we should be thankful for that and seek to glorify the Lord in all we do.

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3 Years!!

I had a CT scan last Wednesday. It was a very long day, but the great news is that I’m still cancer free! I just hit the 3 year mark so now I only have to do the scans once every 12 months! Thank you to all who pray for me and my family.

Back on this Horse

Work is crazy, life is busy, kids are wild, but God is good. :) After many months of ignoring this blog site due to what I can only attribute to the “busyness of life”, I’m going to commit to blogging at least once a week. It is incredible how quickly I forget what the Lord has brought me through. I meant for this blog to be like the stone alters in Old Testament times that would help me remember and today it has done that. Re-reading some of my early posts I’m ashamed that I am not now “totally fixed” and living that super duper spiritually victorious life. But you know, I think that is the point. If we could just get fixed like that and live perfectly then we wouldn’t really need a saviour would we? So I’m thankful that God loves me in spite of my stupidness and in spite of my tendency to go back to just living the way I want to live and doing things that I know He would rather I not do. It is a process – I am a work in progress. So praise the Lord for His faithfulness.

A Parent’s Job Never Ends

Christmas time is just crazy as I’m sure anyone who doesn’t live in a hole these days knows first hand. We have been running around like crazy trying to finish up Christmas shopping and prepare for family to visit us and also prepare for us to go out of town to visit other family. :) We love hanging out with everyone but man it can be stressful this time of year.

My wife and I were shopping earlier this week in Hallmark and I had the task of distracting my 2 year old while my wife tried to finish up. My 5 year old stayed with my wife and kept showing her these small train ornaments which he absolutely loved! She told him to put them back and then she finished up and we went home. Well, the next day we happened to find one of those tiny trains mixed in with his toys. My wife knew exactly where it was from and we had another conference with my son on stealing. I was so bummed. I thought that with big deal I made out of it the first time with the green play phone that he would know for sure that stealing was wrong and that we should never steal. But yet he had done it again. Why didn’t it stick the last time? What did I do wrong? :) And then I realized how silly it was for me to think that way. How many times do I fail the Lord every day and yet He patiently teaches me again and again. I disciplined my son and we will have another confrontation with a store manager and this time I will certainly have different expectations for the future. How silly of me to expect my son to be perfect after dealing with something only one time. I will take all of this in stride and just be patient and persistent and try to model the love and example that Christ shows to me.

5 year old love life

As I was putting my son to bed tonight we had a great conversation. I was praying that the Lord would prepare D for his future wife and also that the Lord would prepare D’s future wife to know and love the Lord and to serve her with all of her heart. When I finished, my son said “Dad, I already know I’m going to marry Sally. Because after all, she is my girlfriend.” I couldn’t help but smile and then D continued, “I mean, I know she says that Joe is her boyfriend, but she can only have one boyfriend and that is going to be me. Joe will have to find another girlfriend.” At this comment I was holding back a chuckle and then for some reason I had a flash of fear come across my heart for my son. I did not want him to experience heartache in his life. I wanted to protect him from this. So being a wise and all knowing dad, I posed a question to him: “Big D, what if the Lord doesn’t want Sally to be your wife?” At this he curled his brow and then after a couple of seconds he said, “But dad, Suzie is only 4 and Jane is too crazy and Mary just isn’t quite right. Joe can pick one of them but really dad, Sally is my girlfriend.” This realiztion at the size of my 5 year old son’s small world again comforted me and I knew the Lord had used D’s reply to comfort my heart.

As I was telling my wife of our conversation and laughing about it with her I had the craziest revelation. The pang of fear and the longing to protect my son from any harm or heartache may have been a small glimpse into what the Lord could have felt before the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. I mean, only magnified by a zillion and taken to eternity of course. But I wonder if God had that thought “I love them so much and I wish they didn’t have to go through the pain and suffering of sin.” But then if we look at the other side of this argument, if it weren’t for sin would we really have a full appreciation of his mercy and grace in our lives? I know for me that it is when I realize what the Lord has saved me from or the fact that I am so wretched and yet He loves me anyway that I really feel I have a glimpse of the greatness of God and I really feel full in spirit and love. I mean without darkness, how can we ever really appreciate light? And so it will be with my son’s love life. I know that he will experience heartache, but you know what? I’m okay with it now. Because it will be the broken heart that most appreciates true love when he finds it.

$3.29

Parenting is the hardest job in all the world.  Without much prayer and the grace of Jesus I really don’t know what I would do! We had an interesting series of events the other day at our house.

Big D who just celebrated his 5th birthday stole something from the grocery store. My wife went to the store with them which is always a difficult thing for her because they act just absolutly crazy at the grocery store. Needless to say she has her hands full with those two. (I know, I know, don’t ask – I have no clue how we’ll handle a third! :) Big D and his sister (who is 2) were running interference for each other at the checkout line and apparently D opened the package of a toy cell phone and stuck it in his pocket while no one was looking. It wasn’t until he and his sister were home and fighting over this toy that we found out. I had just walked in the door from another appointment when they were fighting over the phone.

When asked where he had gotten the phone, D said that he had “found” it at the grocery store. It was soon uncovered that he had knowingly stolen it. When we uncovered this face, he became very scared and started crying saying that he didn’t want the police to come get him.

Now as a parent, I’m feeling all kinds of emotions at this point – anger and disappointment that he would steal, a bit of humor that he thinks the police may show up at any minute, and I guess some guilt about what I may have done wrong as a parent for him to get to this point! :)

I also recognize this as an amazingly rare opportunity to teach him all kinds of moral lessons. Thus I hide my amusement at the situation and assure him that the police are not outside about to beat the door down. I take him and sit him down and I silently pray that the Lord would give me wisdom so I would know what to say. I emphasize that stealing is a sin and have him repeat that stealing is WRONG. I ask him why he stole, and really spend a good long time on the crux of the issue. Then all of a sudden, I am impressed to remind D that no matter what he does wrong, me and his mommy will always love him. I can only say that the Lord gave this to me because I don’t know where it came from. But what a neat opportunity to remind D of our love for him and to show him that we have unconditional love for him and that we don’t love him because of his actions, but because God gave him to us.

After the lecture, we get in the car and immediately drive back to the grocery store. The whole ride there is not a fun ride for either of us. I still have my stern face firmly in place. When we get to the store, I locate the store manager and tell D to explain what had happened (I’d prepped him on what he should say on the ride over). He tells her that he stole a phone, and that he is sorry, and that he has learned that stealing is wrong and he’ll never do it again, and that he would like to pay for the phone. The grocery store manager was a real trooper. At first she too had to work to hold back a smile about the situation, but she got how important this was to me.

So she rings up this plastic phone and that sucker was $3.29! I was shocked at that price because this thing was worse than a typical McDonald’s toy! I told D that this was such a waste! I said, “don’t you know what kind of cool stuff you could get for $3.29? Your daddy wants you to have good things and wants to get all kinds of good things for you – all you have to do is ask me!”

So while I definitely cringe at paying $3.29 for a cheap, plastic, lime green cell phone, when I look at the bigger picture and the opportunity I had to teach my son a moral lesson, that is money well spent and I would do it again in no time flat. One thing that I have heard recently is that as parents we should pray that we catch our children in the act. This has definitely become my prayer as I have now seen first hand the awesome opportunity that can arise from catching my children “in the act”.

Rainbow in the Storm

So I’m officially back to work now. It is going pretty well but my brain goes through times where it just won’t work. But I guess that is nothing really new. :) Our family has some additional news that we’d like to share. The day before my surgery (July 31) I was in the middle of doing a bowel prep and was very nervous preparing to go “under the knife”. I hadn’t slept much anyway and Jessica and I were up really early. She is in the bathroom and I hear her call for me so I go to see if she is okay. Then she shows me a pregnancy test that is positive! Yup – you heard me right! Our third baby is on the way. And the timing was just unbelievable. Yet again, God is so good to us. He was giving us a promise in the midst of our struggle. Number 3 was like the rainbow after the flood and man we were (and still are) overwhelmed by all the Lord continues to do for us!