Under Pressure

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Dum dum dum da da dum dum
Dum dum dum da da dum dum
Dum dum dum da da dum dum
Dum dum dum da da dum dum

In 1981, this baseline opened up the classic Under Pressure, written and performed by David Bowie and Queen, fronted by virtuoso vocalist Freddy Mercury (it was later on sampled and used in 1991 by Rob Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice. If you don’t know what song I am referring to…that makes me sad…).

The opening lyrics to the song are:
Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure that burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets”

We can all relate to that sort of feeling. Well at least I can. Even the coolest cucumber among your tribe of friends feels some sort of pressure, a downward sense of “I don’t know what to do here.” Pressure comes from multiple sources. Here are mine (see if you have any that are similar):

Family – being present when present (which I am currently contradicting by writing these thoughts while Ellie and Liam play at my feet), being a leader in my home, serving my family through my actions.
Work – helping people reach new levels of potential, menial tasks that still matter in the long run, long term planning and short term actions.
Financial – paying off debt, saving, investing
Physical – resting, working out, staying groomed (though #beardwatch continues, suckas!!!)
Spiritual – Growing in my faith intake, making moments for faith outputs
…And more and more and more…

I’ve learned that pressure comes from inside (we know what we NEED to be doing and we want to get there) and outside (those who watch us either place on us expectations OR we, out of insecurities, try to impress others through living for them) but its born out of a need to make ends meet and make due. When we are kids, it’s the pressure for grades and accomplishments planned out by parents and coaches. When we are older, it’s bosses, spouses and other achievers. It is always there. And those pressures, when left alone or added to can kill a job opportunity, kill a family and ultimately, kill a person.

This fall, I felt that sort of pressure in a way I never had before. Some staff changes had me move into interim roles that added to my workload, left me with less home time and pulled me way beyond my regular threshold. So to keep myself ALIVE, here are some things I have tried to incorporate into my life, especially as this fall turned into a winter with more responsibilities on my plate (knowing that all of these things start with a heart to live out Mark 12:29-31 as my launchpad).

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The DNA of a Good Husband…?

I am a big fan of magazines.

I can’t tell you how much money I have spent on Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, SLAM, GQ (depending on the cover) and Time. So much information…so many articles. Awesome sauce.

Last week, I picked up a copy of Esquire magazine because it had a cool music section and Mr. Kevin Flynn, a.k.a Jeff Bridges was on the cover (If you have yet to see Tron: Legacy, you need to. Pure eye candy). While I was looking through it, I saw an interesting article that prompted me to buy the magazine, bring it home and underline stuff. It’s title? “Hitched: A Man’s Guide to Getting and Being Married.” In it, various authors give their thoughts on why men still choose to marry someone though divorce rates are high and doing the “let’s just live together” movement is booming large. The article is broken into the following sections:

– Meeting the wife: Initial relationship building, marriage and kids
– The Middle Years: A Philosophy of Fighting
– When A Marriage Ends: Dealing with the ramifications of divorce, remarriage, etc.

The article also has a quiz on if you are a good husband or not (of course it’s according to Esquire status so it’s kinda funny, kinda gross and not indicative of whether you are or aren’t good at the ‘job’) and some little quotes from people who have been married for YEARS on how to make a marriage last. Here are some of them:

– “She cleans, I cook. It works.” Herb Burton, married 52 years to Sylvia
– “Hilary tells me that women say that they need three husbands in their lifetimes. As a young woman, they need an adventurer. As a mother, they need a father to their children. And as an older woman, they need a companion, a steady type of guy. If you can fill those roles over the course of decades, you’re in luck.” Paul Wexler, married 40 years to Hilary.
– “Everything’s negotiable. There’s no black and white. You can’t draw a line in the sand, because the sand moves.” Dick Tressel, married 40 years to Connie.

Some cool truth there, i think. And you know what I notice even more? The numbers. 40…52…that’s amazing.

So I got to thinking: What is the DNA or recipe for a good husband? If the perfect husband could be constructed (and I know it’s impossible but for the sake of the blog post, please keep that arguementative voice to one’s self) what would it look like? Is it simply, “love God and that’s it?” Is it “adventure and romance?” Is it “know the signs, don’t be selfish?” Is it all of the above?

You see, I’m going on 6 years in September, one beautiful girl at the age of two and other bundle on the way. I have a steady job, a sliver of maturity, a have a relationship with Jesus, good morals and fashion sense. But it that all that it takes? I’m not the greatest at listening or noticing things (check out Becca’s blog for proof at http://beccachase.wordpress.com) but I clean a lot, even at weird hours. I misread eye contact (and every married man knows what I mean…yup. Exactly.) but love shopping for wifey…don’t know why I’m adding this in but hopefully it give context.

If I had to put myself on a HUSBAND scale of one to ten (one being “How did that guy even get out of the nursery??” and ten being “What? Jesus got married and coaches little league?? Amazing!”) it really varies. There are days when I know I am untouchable. Then there are days when I know that work came first, or TV, or the iPad, or even Eliana. I’m still learning and I am very thankful for patience that is shown my way, even when the scale is tipping towards the one. But still…what makes a husband good? And a follow up question, what makes a marriage last?

So, I need your help both ladies and gentlemen! In your estimation, what makes a good husband? If you’re married and a dude, what do you think you need to be awesome? If you’re a lady and married, what about your husband do you love? If you’re single, what do you want to be (men) or desire and expect (ladies). Comments and thoughts are encouraged here (so is subscribing…but that’s a whole other story) so post them away.

One last story: At Ellie’s daycare, there is a lady who literally walks with joy. It’s amazing because it’s not annoying but rather infectious. On certain days when I am there, her husband comes to pick her up. And when they see each other, you can feel their sparks. It’s amazing. Whether they say nothing or gab away, they love each other. She is his everything. They are still newlyweds but love each other like they have been married for years. And to know her story of how their love came about makes me smile even bigger. He’s her hero (apart from Jesus).

I like that. I wonder what he’s doing right.

Epic Fail Blog – Getting Left Behind!!!!

This is one of my FAVORITE stories.

Yes, it details one of my MANY, MANY embarasing moments but the outcome was awesome!

Becca was preggers and Ellie, in her independent nature, was taking a while to come out…by a few days.

We did everything you’re supposed to do to get that kid out, including long walks, raspberry leaf tea and nothing was getting The Kid out of her warm home. It wasn’t stressful but thoughts go through your mind…

“Is she okay?” “We still haven’t pick a name…” “Maybe she needs another month…”

Either way on March 24th, we went for the walk, drank the tea (we finally got our own tea-pot) and went to bed to watch a movie. Now, Becca is normally the sleepy one but on that night, I fell asleep first while she watched the movie. I then was awaken to this:

“Baby…? I think my water broke…”

(Becca never talks with “!”s. It’s always quiet and call with room for more in the sentence. I always get in trouble because I think she’s saying more but her sentence was done. But I digress…”

So I jump out of bed (There’s no worse mental pain then literally jumping out of bed after a deep sleep. It’s not fair to anything or anyone.), help her get ready, run and grab our bags, get her in the car, lock the car and get to driving. Becca’s contractions are very close and very painful so I’m kinda freaking out (nothing like seeing your love in pain and being able to do nothing…) while driving. She can’t even sit on in the seat, so she kneels in the passenger side facing the back of the car so she can hold the seat for comfort. It’s a funny scene looking back on it but at the time, it was nuts. I’m tired, she’s in pain, our baby is coming and I keep on thinking to myself:

“I wonder if the hospital has wireless internet…”

Stupid, right? I’m a boy…what can I say? I wish I had that calm nature bit but I don’t sadly…

So we get to the hospital and here’s where the fail comes in: In my haste, stress and nervousness, I grabbed every bag, especially my laptop (for fear of theft at 1:00 AM) and ran into the hospital and forgot one thing…

BECCA!!!!!

Poor Becca had to struggle her way out through contractions and a messed up way of sitting on her own. By the time i noticed (along with EVERYONE else in the waiting room) I got the “contraction eyes of death“. I was in the dog house, as you can imagine. A fail of epic proportions. I left my pregnant wife in the car but made sure my APC-lent laptop was safe! Dummy.

Well as the story goes, after 12 hours of back labour pains, on March 25th our daughter Eliana Dorothy Chase (aka Coffee Bean) was born. Good news cancels out epic fails, i guess.

And fortunately, I’m a lot calmer NOW than I was then. I least I HOPE so.

I guess this November we’ll find out…

 Opperation “Cocoa Bean” is in full effect! And we can’t wait!!

 

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, do me a favor and spread the love by pressing one of the share buttons so more will tune it to read! Or better yet? Subscribe!!!! 

Thanks! 

New addition:

So I’m here in my office after a long, busy yet productive day. The best part of it was going to the doctor for our first ultrasound appointment. Becca and I had front row seats to see little Cocoa Bean jump up and down, spin about and show off their Chase DNA. We even heard a heart beat. A reall strong one! It was surreal. We’ve been there before but it was all new.

Over lunch, we looked at pictures of our Cocoa Bean and then pics of our 2 yr old on my iPad while thinking about how cool it’ll be to do this all again. Becca kept on saying “He’ll…” or “His…”. She really wants a boy! I’m not so sure yet. I guess I’m used to having a little girl around the house and since we already have so much girl stuff. I’m really cheap=). And knowing my extreme nature, I’ll play dodgeball with him at 2 months just to over compensate.

We still have a long way to go but we’re excited! Thanks so much for the love, dear readers!

Laughing, Learning, Loving and Leading (Easter Monday Thoughts)

I’m currently sitting in our family room…

Ellie is in her pyjamas playing with Lego, strollers, ponies…still rocking her afro.

Becca is resting on the couch after a full week of singing her heart out during our easter presentation. Her rest (along with the other volunteers and staff who served) is MORE than deserved! Now her an Ellie are cuddling on the couch reading about God’s creation. It’s a beautiful scene. Later today we’re going to the park for Ellie’s first Easter Egg hunt. I love my family!

And I’m here with my coffee in a state of beautiful contemplation. This Easter has been so…moving.  Here are some of my thoughts, observations and experiences based on the Easter month, especially the last week.

  • Today is the day after the resurrection. It’s the first day of the work week but the 2nd day of the actual week. Jesus’ resurrection starts a new week for us. It signified that he was and is making all things new. We can move forward in a different direction from where we going. The playing field changed on Good Friday. The scope was borderline depressing on Saturday. The game was WIDE OPEN and winning on Sunday. And we live in that victory. I can be better.
  • I heart my church. I would hate to miss Good Friday service or Easter Sunday at APC. Pastor Keith says (and I agree) that our church has a great Christology. It’s true. Because of that, the Good Friday service is more than a memorial service with hymns and Easter Sunday is more than a party. They are, instead, true reflections of the redemptive work of Jesus through song, teaching and community among all ethnicities and generations. Every thing is so genuine…so when people have that moment of jubilant praise on Easter Sunday, you know it’s not a put on. It’s real, from the heart, from the soul. It’s a real THANK YOU JESUS moment. I wouldn’t want to celebrate it anywhere else.
  • We sang ‘Glorious’ by Paul Baloche at our Sunday Morning services. I only got through half of it at the 9 am and through the first line at the 11 AM before a wave of sincere emotion hit me. And in those moments, I learned this: I am a UGLY crier. Oh man…the joy of the resurrection hit me deeply and brought out tears of joy…that sounded like grossness wrapped in ‘oh man…’. I need to meet a good guy-crier and learn how to do it right:) It was a really powerful moment for me. Hearing close to 1300 people sing ‘Look beyond the tombstone/see the living God/see the resurrected/ruler of my heart’ in unison will always give me goosebumps.
  • Okay, enough weepy stuff! Something that was fun: I got to do a walk-on during our worship times to lead ‘Happy Day’. It went like this: Dr. Van Johnson led ‘You Have Saved Us’, then i walk out, lead Happy Day (and hit the high note), then leave. It was a lot of fun. The joy in the room was enough to make the most unhappy person do a two-step. I do know however, though it went unsaid, that I was asked to do the song cause my friend Dr. Van doesn’t like doing that high note, so I take it with a grain of salt:) It was still fun though and I appreciate the invite from my friend (and if you know me, you know HOW MUCH I love SNL-type walk-ons. I’m just trying to get to that Saj McKenley-status. Don’t worry, it’s all love!)!
  • Ellie is a doll. On the way home from our presentation on Friday night, her and Becca had a great chat about Jesus, where our daughter proclaimed that Jesus loved her, and mommy. apparently, He’s still on the fence about Daddy. On Sunday following our Easter Sunday service, she came home singing the Hallelujah chorus and Happy Day and saying Jesus is alive. I love that even at two, Jesus can impact a life! And I’m thankful for a church that mixes the traditional (The Hallelujah Chorus) with the older (My Redeemer Lives) and the new (You Have Saved Us)!  She is also really stinkin’ cute, rocking her afro and red (and or pink) Converse shoes and leading the annual Worship march.
  • I am so proud of our church staff and volunteers who put their lives on pause to be in our Easter presentation. After practicing for months, they literally took 7 days to pour into our church and share about Jesus in a creative way. I get to say, “I work with THEM!” I’d get specific with names but then I’d forget one person, they’d read it and then I’d be that guy who only remembers SOME and NOT all:) So to all of you, thank you for your tireless work, efforts and ministry. We’re all proud of you! And Muse is great.
  • Our Wednesday night Journey to The Cross XP was amazing. Over 200 people came through the interactive stations to walk through Jesus’ last week. Hearing the response let me know that we did something special.
  • My wife is amazing. Even with a bad cold, she killed her song (with Andre) every single time. I have known her for 10 years and have heard her sing enough for 20, yet I never heard her like that before. It was amazing each time, with something new added (a run, an ad-lid, etc.). Specific thanks go to my friends Kent and Maria for choosing her and being great support to her during her stay with the awesome chorale. The vocals were so tight!!! And in the midst of performing, she was still a great wife and mom, even making an amazing Easter Sunday roast!
  • The entire Easter week is a heart trip once you step into the actual narrative. 8 days filled with the following: praise, a parade, palm branches, psalm quotes, turning over tables, arguments, frustrations, goodbyes, betrayals, lies, fulfilled scriptural prophecies concerning Jesus, political intrigue, religious posturing, illegal trials, loneliness, pain, anguish, abuse, prayer, a cross, loss, death, victory-IN-death, doubt, questions, fear, surprise, life, change, strength and victory-IN-LIFE! And there is so much more to it…the story is so rich and deep, moving and strong, exclusive yet amazingly personal.
  • I love new friendships and strengthening old ones. Easter puts things in new perspective. If I have a ‘beef’ in light of the resurrection, I’m a dummy. I need to make things right and do right and honor what’s been given for me. Jesus didn’t die so I can ignore people. That’s a waste of the best life ever.
  • I got to lead a song with my daughter on my arm. And no one thought anything by it. I heart my church. Did I say that already?
  • Lastly, our Easter play (whose main theme is always redemption) is FILLED with people who have been REDEEMED! It’s awesome to see people who were in Alpha a year prior out of our presentation now acting and sharing in the story this year. Thank you God.

So that was Easter for me. But it’s not over! We live on this side of the Resurrection now! And Easter is like the church’s Happy New Year moment! It’s all summed up in this tweet I saw and then stole (while giving credit to its author):

“Easter isn’t a day we just go to church. It’s a picture of why we ARE the church every other day the year!”

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, do me a favor and spread the love by pressing one of the share buttons so more will tune it to read! Thanks & Happy Easter!

Do You Have Your Shoes On? (Thoughts on this Maundy Thursday)

This is a thought based on a reading of Exodus 12:1-14.

You should really read it…

The people in this story were to celebrate this Passover fully clothed prepared to leave to go to their new home. They would be chased, hunted but they were going to a place that would be theirs (albeit for a season due to their attitudes. Nevertheless…). God was setting them free to go home and protecting them through the blood of lambs.

For Jesus, today (Thursday) would be a horrible day. It’s the day before his death. He’s hours from betrayl, condemnation, ridicule, loneliness, and above all else, seperation from His father due to the magnatude of sin place upon him. And so he celebrates Passover with his closest friends preparing to go home. He’s ready. It sucks and it will hurt but he is ready. He’s also preparing a home for them. They can’t go yet but one day they will. Don’t believe me? Check it out:

…Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him.  If God is glorified in him,God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” – John 13:31-36

Looking at both stories on this Maundy Thursday (Maundy is Latin for ‘commandment’. Just learn that. Kinda cool) wonder if we should live our lives this way today. For starters, this world is not our home. Yet when we serve God, we do so symbolically in our home clothes and slippers, as if we are comfortable right here IN this world. This world becomes our living room or family den. Serving God has no urgency. There’s no “I need to get out of here and bring people with me” attitude. The blood of the lamb has, for lack of better words, “done its job” and now we are free to lounge.

But what if we lived with an urgency? What if we live thinking that we need to be getting ready to leave? And we prepared ourselves knowing that the enemy will love nothing more than to keep us here and will run after us and hunt us to either bring us back OR destroy us? What if we live knowing that One had to die so that we’d be protected so that we COULD run? What if we lived EVERDAY in light of Good Friday and Easter Sunday because of thisTthursday? Because of this reminder…?

And what if we did like the Lord commanded the Israelitesto do and made sure that those in our church community and even maybe in our “community” community had enough to eat for the journey? What if, like Jesus commanded his closest friends on the night he was betrayed, we loved one another and others, so the world would have another reminder that Jesus is real?

I love how the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New by the shed blood of Jesus. He is OUR Passover lamb. He’s the reason I should keep my shoes on because I need to get ready to go home.

He’s also the reason why I should invite someone else along for the journey.

(New addition) Just got back in from a walk…the significance of the next 24 hours is so big and so heavy. I just saw a tweet that wrote that while we sleep, Jesus would have been betrayed, illegally convicted, tried and beaten. And it’s true (pending time zones and whatnot). I pray that we don’t just focus on this because of this weekend but next Wednesday at your job/class/dinner/church/etc you remember that Christ took the worst and gave you the best by giving his life. If we only celebrate and think on this until Sunday, then his death was in vain.

Also, my friend Brendan Witton came up with a better name for this blogpost. So I changed it! Check out his own blog here!

May the cross and resurrection push us forward to be the church we ought to be IN LIGHT of what was given. And may that be the truth every day until we are finally home.

Letter to Ellie – Dealing with Friendship

Hey Ellie,

At some point in your life, someone will call you a bad friend.

It’s happened to me a couple of times. And it sucks.

When it happens, you won’t be ready for it. You’ll think everything is fine. You may be in the midst of a laugh together. You might be at their house for a sleepover and then the mood will shift. Then the talk will happen. You;ll find out that your friend has felt that you’ve ‘dissed/pulled away/not cared about them. And you’ll be crushed. And it’ll never be the same after that…it’ll change and you may get along but that sting will never leave.

 So as your dad, I want to give you some friendship thoughts to help you navigate through this messy maze.

1 – Friendships require work.

The things that you love will always take a lot out of you and friendship is no different. As you get older, things like making plans, phone calls, emails…what seems easy. But to keep one moving, it takes work. And at times, it can be taxing, especially if you need times by yourself to recharge. Then there are different forms of friendships that do different things to you. There are some that by the end of your time, you feel drained. Then there are others, where you (knowingly or unknowingly) will drain them. And then there are others where you feel completely refreshed and can’t wait do it again. But to get there takes work.

2 – Some friendships have unvoiced expectations

If someone says to you, you’ve been a bad friend, in most cases, you simply didn’t meet their expectation of what they either though friendship is OR what they thought YOU’d be as a friend. And because you’re friendly, a lot more will be put on you. And if you have that attitude towards someone else, they didn’t meet YOUR expectation. Now I’m not saying when you meet people to give them a form with all that you can provide as a friend and what you can expect. That would be weird. But in your heart and mind, know who you are and what you can do, what you need and what you bring to the table. Then when a friendship ends its course, you’ll be able to look back on expectations. The flipside to this is that, if you have expectations on them, it’s not a friendship, it’s a service that someone is providing for you.

Remember expectations, Kid. If you don’t, then you’ll get mad when people don’t live up to yours (when you’re the taker) and you’ll be thrown off when you’re in the blame (when you’re the giver). If you know what’s expected of you (emails, phone calls, hang outs everyday, etc.) then you’ll know whether you can live up to it or not. And you’d think that this is only for high school people. But there are 40 year olds who fall for this too (I tend to think that people never graduate from HS in their brains when it comes to friendships and relationships…you’ll hear me say that a lot as you get older.

3 – There are different TYPES of connecting relationships

Now this is simply MY opinion here, kiddo but This will help you soooo much. First, there are relationships where you are the giver. By this I mean, someone is expecting you to lead the relationship. Second, there are relationships where you are the taker. This is where you’re in need of someone helping or leading you. And at the get go, things will go well. Then over time, communication will fall and it might end. This is tricky because in both of these ‘types’, it’ll end and you’ll be confused. If you’re the giver, you’ll ‘get tired’ and because you’re like me, you’ll just space out of it. The person will be very mad with you. And you’ll be crushed. And when you’re the taker, it’ll end and you’ll be mad and hurt.

Then the last type is the best type. I call it “friendship“. It’s messy, it’s hard but it’s where both people give and take. Conversations are always about making one another better. You look out for how the other person is doing before how they are helping you and in return they do the same for you. It become effortless. Those types of friendships are the ones where you might not see someone for years but when you do, it’s like yesterday. It’s awesome. Those ones are worth investing in. Those ones are worth preserving and having messy convos. As you grow up, those friendships will help you and carry you through some tough times.

4 – Your number of friends will shrink as you get older.

When you’re a kid, everyone is your best friend. Then in high school, you’ll have your ‘girls’ and that one guy friend. I will hate him, by the way. Then you’ll get older and you’ll have 2 or 3 sisters. That’s okay. It’s okay to have a close circle. A teacher once told me that Jesus had 3 besties, 12 homies, a bunch of close associates, a 72 crew and then a lot of people he knew.  Be careful with the crowned title of best friend. That title is earned. And there’s nothing worst than thinking someone is your best friend and they don’t feel the same way. (You’ll feel that about boys too but that’s a blog I’m not ready to write yet. Boys are dumb. And smelly.)

5 – Good friends try to give the benefit of the doubt.

If you’re in a friendship and the relationship runs its course, don’t waste time thinking about how they hurt you. Instead, think more about how the relationship has changed you and made you a better person. Every relationship you’re in (close to acquaintance) can be a blessing, if you have the right perspective. If you don’t, you’ll always be the victim. If someone isn’t able to connect with you for a time, check up on them rather than expecting them to check in on you. This helps with the focusing on others more than wanting it for you. You never know, they may be going through something. OR, maybe the friendship is ending and they don’t know how to say it. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Think kindly and speak highly of them when asked. And if  they get mad with you, give them the benefit…speak highly of them. If someone is your friend, don’t judge them. Talk to them. Ask questions when it’s right. Be silent when it’s right. Grow together.

6 – Friendships require wise honesty

Trust is a careful commodity. And some people can’t carry it. They are good people but they can’t keep secrets. If someone talks a lot, be wise. If they speak bad about others in front of you, chances are they do the same about you when you aren’t there. Just who they are, kiddo. Be smart with who you tell what to and how much you tell when you tell. Be smart, kiddo. And if you know that you haven’t been a good friend, be honest and ask for forgiveness.

7 – Lastly, don’t look for in PEOPLE what only JESUS can provide.

People will let you down. And you will let people down. Expectations suck. But never live off of the words of others. Live off of God’s promises and encouragement and balance everything else on what his spirit is telling you. If you’re being crummy, He’ll tell you before someone else needs to. People will unintentionally judge (though most times, it’s with full-on intention), categorize and say things that hurt you without even knowing it. People will expect much from you and you’re only one person. When they are nice, focus on Jesus and stay wise and humble. When they aren’t so nice, remember WHO He’s told you YOU are. I hope you learn to hear him from watching Mom and me…He loves you more than I ever can. And I love you a lot! He will always be honest with you, kiddo. Always. And His word let’s you know what his motives are. There’s no shady, selfish needs in him. He’s not like people. Which is cool!

Ellie, if you love and serve your friends with all you got (using wisdom as you do it…you don’t want to be a doormat either), the right type of friends will come your way. And they’ll return the love.

And on the days where you come home from school sad because you’ve been ditched or called a bad friend, I’ll be here. We’ll eat ice cream, watch your favorite movie and get through it together.

Turning Two: A Letter to The Kid (Ellie)

Dear Ellie,

Can you believe it? You’re turning TWO! I still remember pulling up to the hospital with your mom and leaving her in the car in a nervous haste (That’s an epic fail blog waiting to be written). 12 hours we waited for you cause you decided to be backwards. Then out you came, skinny, blue-eyed (now a perfect green/brown mix), tiny, beautiful. You and I slept a lot on the couch watching The Score cause you liked to be up late and I love sports scores on reruns. Then you started to grow, bigger and bigger…till right now, on the cusp of two. Here’s what you’ve taught me in 24 short/long months:

  • …There is nothing more enjoyable than listening to music with you in the car or anywhere. You love what I love: The Black Keys, Radiohead, Janelle Monae, Brooke Fraser, Arcade Fire, Fred Hammond, Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” and more! You’re gonna be a musical kid…really cool.
  • …Dora is annoying. Yet the other day you said “arriba” to me…so I guess it’s worth watching.
  • …You don’t mind playing by yourself. You love people but you love alone time to with your books and toys. You’re a perfect mix of Becca and I.
  • …When I ask you where Jesus is, you always say ‘in my heart, da-ddy’. It’s a good reminder for me too, kid.
  • …I have to work on my bad habits, like not being messy, because what you see, you will do
  • …Sometimes you just gotta play in the snow and I just gotta join you. Same with jumping in puddles.
  • …There will be foods that you don’t like. That’d being said, I can’t laugh at the table when you say, “I no like it….” It’s sets a bad example.
  • …You’re a leader and not a follower.
  • …You’ve taught me to appreciate tractors. I notice them everywhere now and remember where they are so I can tell you. Same with trains and GO Buses.
  • …You’ll be able to stand up for yourself. I don’t have to worry AS much as I did.
  • …That you can handle day care…I cried on your first day. NO, WAIT…I cried on our visit BEFORE your first day…but you’ve been a champ, kid.
  • …Sometimes juice is better than water but you can’t always have what you want.
  • …That you’d rather walk than be picked up. From the moment you learned to walk, you wanted to be a big kid. Don’t grow too fast.
  • …However, every so often, you want to be picked up and cuddled. I lived for those moments =)
  • …Potty training is HARD. You won’t keep still =)
  • …You are a SOUND sleeper. You get that from your mom too.
  • …You are beautiful and you will be a stunner, as you get older. I have already dug the graves for the boys who will attempt to date you.
  • …You love to laugh…and love to sing…and talk alot…just like your old man.
  • …There are days where you know something is wrong and you simply say “I love you”. And I know you know what you’re doing.
  • …remembering names is important. You remember people and you can see their joy. Little things make a big difference. And trust me, I’ve forgotten names before.
  • …Running naked  around the house is only cute for you.
  • …You’ve taught me to say “I love you” a lot more.
  • …Your “NO” is a powerful tool. Mine is too.
  • …No one will be able to say, “again”, or “COME…ON” without causing me to laugh. I’ll always hear you saying it =)

Eliana Dorothy, you are my greatest mark on this earth. I know you can’t read this, but everyday you teach me something new. I adore you and think about you all the time. I am a better man of God, husband, father, friend and pastor because I want to make you proud. I’m still full of mistakes but I’m learning and you’re a big part of that! This, and so much more, is what you’ve done in me in two years. Your impact on my life is huge. Thanks for letting me be your dad.

Not that you really had a choice but still…

Love you bubba,

Da-ddy