Monthly Archives: June 2016

6.28.2016 ~ Time

The other day I had to run some errands in town and when I asked if anyone wanted to go with me, my youngest son suggested that he would.

Our stops were uneventful, our conversation was good, we learned a few things along the way, and we almost found everything we needed.

Upon getting back home I said simply, “Thanks for coming with me buddy.”

To which he quickly replied, “Thanks for letting me!”

At dinner that evening we went through our highs for the day.  His and mine were the same, running errands together in town.

We are in the custom and habit of eating dinner together as a family, and actually right now we have been eating all of our meals together as a family.  One of the things we do on a regular basis when we sit down to an evening meal is to go over the high lights of our day.  Family members aren’t forced to share, but it is definitely encouraged.  We usually don’t need help with conversation around the table but sometimes checking in with each other at the end of the day, especially when life is busy, is a good place to connect with one another.

As I thought about my son’s response of “thanks for letting me” and his high light being the same as mine I spend some time reflecting on how important it is for us to spend time with our children, and how really our time is all they really want from us.  At least at the age and stage of life my youngest is in.

He says he hates going more than a day without seeing or talking to his parents.  This can happen when we travel our work gets us out the door early and home late, so we have to do a good job of connecting when we can.  Technology helps with this, as does impromptu car rides to run errands.  Once in a busy season I stopped by his school and got him out of class just so we could see each other.

This is also the kind who when he was a toddler would run and pick up a phone to say hi whenever my name was said.  I was gone a lot for work, and talking on the phone was one of the ways I could connect with my sons.  I didn’t keep that job very long.

My encouragement to parents today is to spend time with your children, even if you have to postpone doing something important.

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6.27.16 ~ Simple Fun

I think sometimes we try too hard to make fun for our children, when some of the simpler things in life are the most pleasurable and entertaining.

I’ve been trying to do a better job enjoying the simple rhythms of life and teaching my sons to do the same.  Perhaps, we learn to appreciate life a little more, and that we don’t have to search very hard or far for a good time.

I’ve spoken of family bike rides in a recent post, and they continue to be enjoyable.  Family bike rides have proved to be a simple fun thing to do in the rhythms of life.  Why not take 15-30 minutes for a short cruise around your community?

There are other things we have been enjoying this summer: playing the card game UNO, going to the lake, learning card tricks, camping in the back yard, fires in the fire pit, and jumping on the trampoline.

The other day we had a yard sale at our house, and will have another one this Saturday at my parent’s house, because they have a better location and we still have some things to get rid of.  We had fun as a family, collecting our un-used and un-needed items, preparing the sale, and being together during the sale.

One of the items in the sale was an AB Lounge Sport my folks had dropped off for us to try to unload for them.  We didn’t sell it, but at the end of the day we had fun using it as our prop for making spoof advertisements for the AB Lounge Sport.  One of the videos even got posted to You Tube, although I currently have it set to private. I am still trying to decide if I want others to view my attempts at sketch comedy, probably not.  Regardless, making the videos was a fun and simple thing to do with my sons.

During and after the yard sale my youngest son and I also had fun together implementing an idea he had on how to make a seat and foot rest for his scooter.  He did the bulk of the work and then I helped him fasten it to the scooter.  As soon as we were finished he went for a ride, and he has been riding it around the patio and roads ever since.  A simple thing, with hours of fun attached to it.

Let’s not try too hard to make life fun, but let’s remember there are fun things that can and do happen in the normal rhythms of life.  We just have to remember to stop and take time to see them, and experience them.  There our several advantages, laughter being one of them, but I think the quality time spent with our children and as a family is the most important.  Relationship time is always good time.


6.23.2016

I’m sitting here listening to the whey drain out of the yogurt Heidi has been making today.  I keep thinking that the sink is running and we are wasting water.  But no, it’s just whey.

There are actually plenty of jokes that go around our house regarding whey, and they all have the same punch line.

“No whey!”

Did you put any whey in this?

“No whey!”

You get the idea.

I like the stuff Donald Miller puts out.  If you don’t read the articles written by him or the authors on Storyline Blog, you really should.  They do a really good job.

The other day I read this article and was struck by the phrase “At least we’re together” that the friend said to the author when the meal and evening didn’t go as planned.

“At least we’re together.”

I’ve been thinking about this phrase, and the conviction and attitude behind them and I think it is really important for us to remember.

I was thinking about this tonight when we were playing games as a family.

Being together is what is important.  Doesn’t matter where.  Doesn’t matter what is going on.  Doesn’t matter how much stuff you have.

Just being together is important.

We need to remember this as families.  Our busy culture tries to pull us apart.  Well actually there are all kinds of things that try to pull us apart as families.

We need to stay together. We need to spend time together.  This is what families are supposed to do, and I don’t care if you are working or playing, together is important.

In good times and bad.

I can think back to days or stretches when things weren’t going so well for whatever reason, and although I didn’t think or say this phrase then, I can assure you it was known and felt in my heart.

At least we’re together.

Yes indeed, this is a phrase we all need to remember.

 

 


6.22.16 Sleep

Got to sleep in the tent again last night with my oldest son Samuel, the one I’ve mentioned a few times in my posts.  Tonight though I am taking a break, I need to sleep on a real mattress.

Last night I had trouble sleeping because of a few things I had on my mind so I laid there awake listening to the neighborhood and running through my thoughts.

The neighborhood sounds reminded me of some mornings and evenings I spent at a children’s home in Tijuana several years ago.  I would get up early or stay up late and sit on one of the roofs, just watching and listening.  Observing is something I do well.

At one point when I was changing direction in my sleeping bag trying to find an optimum sleeping position I noticed how peaceful Samuel looked sleeping next to me.  So I did what any non-stalkerish parent would do, I watched him sleep for a while, before I tried to find the next best corner of my pillow.

Today, as I have thought about the two minutes or so I watched him sleep last night a few thoughts continue to swirl around my head.

Sleep is a great equalizer.  When we sleep we are all the same.  Class, race, gender, stress, things we struggle with, and more, don’t matter.  We just sleep, without a care in the world and anything to worry about.

As I looked at Samuel last night I just kept thinking about how peaceful he looked.  I was glad for that.

The kid has enough to deal with when he is awake, I’m glad he can rest well.

I’m thankful for others who can rest well too, including me.  Last night was a bit of an enigma usually I don’t have trouble sleeping.  Usually the head hits the pillow and I’m gone to dream land.  Even though, I rarely remember any of my dreams.

I really do hope that everyone can enjoy the great equalizer of sleep.

This train of thought I’m on reminds me that we aren’t all that different from one another, asleep or awake.  We are children of God … made in God’s likeness, knit together in our mother’s wombs.

Uniquely and wonderfully made, just the way we were supposed to be.  Just the way God wanted.  I won’t get into how the world tries to destroy our uniqueness, that’s a topic for a different day.  Just know and own the truth that each of us is uniquely and wonderfully made.

And that when we sleep we are the same, we are all asleep.

This is a good time to remind everyone an important lesson I remind my boys, there are two times you never mess with someone; when they are sleeping and when they are eating.  If you wouldn’t want someone to prank you when you are sleeping or eating, then don’t do it when someone else is.


6.21.2016 – Bike Rides

4 out of the 5 people in our family are able to ride bikes, and the one who can’t is trying to learn again.  More on learning to ride later.

A year and a half ago I had a quest to outfit everyone in the family with a bicycle and that dream finally came to fruition a little over a month ago.  Saying that we might still have one more bicycle to purchase, but for the moment we are good.

As a result of having the bikes, nice weather, long summer days, and not coaching an in season sport we have been taking bike rides around town.  These rides have been enjoyable to say the least and provide a way for us to get exercise, spend some time together, explore the neighborhoods of our town, and have fun.

We have different routes that we take and one of them includes a hill that we have a “coast” challenge on.  I usually win the “coast” challenge presumably because I weigh more and can get going faster during the acceleration phase, but my boys say that it is just because “I’m fat!”  Which isn’t true, not anymore, but the commentary and trash talk just make the rides that much more fun.

Sometimes after a stressful day going on a bike ride with family is just what I need.  I’m learning that the simple things in life, help me enjoy life more.

Often we see people we know and we stop and visit.  Sometimes we get chased by Chihuahuas!  We like to visit with people but don’t like getting chased by the Chihuahuas.

My oldest son Samuel, the one you may know about from previous posts or because you know him personally, is on the Autism Spectrum and hasn’t quite been able to grasp riding a bike yet.  After a failed attempt a few years when he swore off of bikes for awhile he hadn’t pushed the idea until he brought it up this year.

As part of Jon Acuff’s Do Summer Challenge #dosummer2016 we are all spending time developing or improving a skill for at least 15 minutes a day.  I chose writing.  Samuel chose riding a bike, or learning how to ride a bike.  The challenge started yesterday, and so far we have accumulated 30 minutes of practice.

He will get it.

He has motivation.

He wants to be able to ride to the library.  He loves books and most weeks walks there with a red wagon full of books.  He thinks a bike and a trailer will be more efficient, or we have even thought about getting him and adult tricycle.  We saw a little girl ride by our house on one a couple of weeks ago, and we thought hmmmmmm, maybe Samuel could ride one of those.

He was agreeable because of the big basket that comes on the back of most of them.  For hauling books of course.

Riding bikes is a good skill to have, and is a solid mode of transportation that will be useful when the oil runs out, or when my kids go to college.

I commute to work on my bike every once and awhile and have found that doing so helps me slow down and observe life.  Then I realize how much more life I could observe by walking, and start walking more.  Then I get tired of walking and get back in the habit of driving my dad van, before remembering that I really should be taking the bike.

Well my fifteen minutes is up, and I have to head out and sleep in the back yard again.

#3nightcampout

 


6.20.16

I woke up this morning in the backyard.

Last night my oldest son, Samuel, made it known that he wanted to camp out in the back yard again sometime this summer.  He thought sometime after we were done with the GAPS INTRO, or after we get back from vacation.  I said, “How about tonight?”

We got the 3 person tent out and set it up quickly and without any swear words being muttered under my breath.

We loaded up with the essentials, including of course flash lights and books, bid good night to the rest of the family, and retired for the evening.

Fortunately the temperature is still cooling down at night, and with the tent windows unzipped, the cool air was relaxing and nice.

We read for awhile, said good night to each other, turned the flash lights off … and dozed off to sleep.

Zoe, our 8 year old black lab, was in the tent with us, sleeping on Samuel’s bag.  She doesn’t like to go inside when we are sleeping out there.  At least not at first.  In the middle of the night, when I had to get up to relieve myself, she made it known that she wanted in the house.  I obliged, grateful the tent wouldn’t smell like dog any more.

I woke early to first light, and the sounds of the neighborhood and nature.  I was refreshed, and except for a little soreness in my back my body felt good.  I laid there in the stillness, resting, listening, praying, thinking, and enjoying every bit of the moment.

The simple things in life are good.

When my son inquires about sleeping out in the back yard it is hard for me to say no, except for when my body is to sore from sleeping on the ground.  Lately, it is has been hard to say no when any of my boys ask me to do something with them.  They might get a “not now, in a little bit,” but I have been doing a better job of following through and spending time with them doing what they want to do.

Trampoline.  Bike rides.  Basketball. Game night. Back yard camping.

We all need to spend time doing fun things with our children.  Especially in the summer.

Makes life more fun, at least it has been for me.

Now I have to go … evidently the camp out is going to last at least 2 nights.