The wise man is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things both new and old.

Category: Family

The surprise of legacy.


One of the fundamental truths of personhood is that you are the by-product of two people who came before you. I was blessed with awesome parents who -though I was the “experiment”- did the very best they could to raise me right. And not trying to brag on them or anything, but I feel like they did a good job. I was reminded this week about how large a part our parents play in shaping our identities.

I was sitting in a side room of my house where I do my morning Bible reading, and looked over at the shelf by the chair. Unintentionally, I had placed a Scofield Reference Bible next to a Thompson Chain Reference Bible. The first Bible my mom bought for herself is like the Scofield pictured, and my dad used to carry a Thompson (King James Version, unlike his rebel son) to church every Sunday when I was a kid.

Seeing these two Bibles next to each other was a reminder that what our parents did (or didn’t do) when we were growing up stick with us. Our thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and actions in a way are impacted by how we were raised. It is like they are always in the room with us. In that way, especially, our parents never leave us, are. Even if/when they do.

Two years ago.



Two years ago I was sitting with Sarah in a hospital room at Parkview Noble Hospital in their maternity wing. As soon-to-be parents, we were anxious, stressed, and (I was) a little scared. Sarah was 34.5 weeks pregnant and preeclamptic, and for the safety of mother and child, Sarah was being induced.

We were unaware that the next twenty-four hours would be an emotional whirlwind, as we would come to learn within an hour of Kizzy’s birth that she would be transferred to the newborn intensive care unit at Parkview Regional because she could not maintain body temperature, and she would unexpectedly stop breathing. On our first night as (baby-out-of-the-womb) parents, our daughter was in a different zip code from us.

Time passes quickly, things change rapidly, and lessons learned add up. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. It does not matter to Kizzy how good a singer, guitar player, joke teller, runner, etc. I am. What matters to her is that she is an active part in my world and that I want her to be there.
  2. I have a long way to go in developing grace, patience, focus, and a sense of humor; toddlers are good at pushing all the right character buttons.
  3. Time moves way to quickly to get fixated on trivial stuff or to get wrapped up in things like ***gasp*** Facebook. It feels like only last weekend that Kizzy was tiny enough to lay across my lap and fit there perfectly.
  4. I still do not appreciate all the personal elements to the Gospel of Jesus, but after having a daughter, I understand them a little better.

How things change.

Today it begins.

My daughter turns two years old next month. This is her second Christmas. But today feels like the magic of Christmas with Kizzy has really begun.

Last year, she was eleven months. She was present and cute. But she really didn’t do much of anything. There wasn’t the excitement of the decorated tree. There was no magic of opening presents.

This year is different.

She was excited to tear up wrapping paper. She has run around, jingling a bell, and talking with our two dogs. It only gets better from here.

Merry Christmas.


My daughter has an evil toy.

Laugh all you want; it’s true.

When this thing makes noise, she starts dancing in spasms.

Sometimes, when I am the only one in the room and on the other side of it, the toy starts making noise and ruining my peace. You know who ruins peace?

The devil. And clowns.

In one of its songs, this toy lies to my daughter by singing, “Circle, triangle, diamond, square. They all make a happy pair.” You know lies?

The devil. And politicians.

The toy is evil and must be stopped.


My iPhone told me my daughter is getting bigger.

For those who are not a member of Team iPhone, I do not know if your phones do this. With some of the most recent iOS updates, a new feature has shown up on my phone which will identify the people in photos and sort them into a category called “People”. According to my iPhone, there are seven people pictured in my “Photos”.


Three of those people happen to be my daughter. I guess over the course of time I have had my iPhone- five months- Kizzy’s growth has been quite fast; although, I have not been quite aware of how drastic the growth has been in one year. Crazy.


This trimester I am teaching a Biblical literature course at the high school. A couple weeks ago we finished Job. The discussions were enlightening and has led me to determine that I should reduce the amount we are reading for the course, and increase the amount of discussion. But that’s not the point of this post.

This is.

Over the weekend, our senior class lost one of its own. And I couldn’t help but think about how timely Job’s coverage was. Because we didn’t talk about it necessarily in the way one traditionally thinks about Job.

We didn’t talk about patience in suffering- the dude got pretty heated. We also didn’t talk about the (weak) explanation for why suffering happens. Instead, we talked about how to respond appropriately when others are suffering.

If you have never read Job, please do. But to catch you up, this guy named Job has the perfect life, loses everything as a result of a cosmic bet between God and satan, and then Job’s friends comfort Job by telling him this happened because he probably secretly sinned and this is karma coming back to get him. They would have been better to have showed support silently by simply being there.

It will be interesting to watch my students this week to see how any of them act out their support for suffering classmates this week.

“Row, Row, Row Your Boat” may be one of my new favorite songs.

Kizzy and I were sitting in the living room earlier this evening. It was nearing time for her pajamas, bottle, and bed time. This means of course that she was beginning to get fussy. So in a fit of boredom…or desperation…I dropped “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” on her.

And she loved it.

The giggles started. And as soon as I stopped, she started reaching for one of my hands and grunting, which I am assuming for infant communication to “Sing the song and row with me again, Daddy!”

It’s times like these that make being a dad much more enjoyable than the times when I join the pillow club (the term used for taking a pillow into the next room over and giving it a couple good frustrated slaps because of the frustrations of a cranky baby).

I still haven’t been to Black Pines Animal Sanctuary.


Today is officially the last day of Summer Break 2016 before the 2016-17 contract year begins. It would be really easy to get hung up on all the things I didn’t do this summer- including the activity mentioned in the title. But as easy as that might be, doing so would get me hung up on all the awesome things that happened this summer. So, in no particular order (and yes, I am good with this being a brag post), here’s all the stuff I can remember doing this summer:

  1. Celebrated my very first Father’s Day as a father, complete with cookout and all the works.
  2. I presented a session at a national education conference to a standing-room only crowd.
  3. I saw Brand New play for almost two hours up in Michigan.
  4. I saw a 4o’ grain silo painted to look like a Minion.
  5. I bench pressed my body weight (actually, I bench pressed 15 pounds more than my body weight).
  6. I got to spend time with family I don’t normally get to spend time with, including my brother-in-law from Spokane, WA and my second cousins from the Netherlands.
  7. I tried Brazilian cuisine.
  8. I went to Sea World.
  9. I got completely soaked by the killer whales at Sea World.
  10. I got a new guitar.
  11. I spend multiple mornings getting to watch my daughter wake up.
  12. I saw the sun set, watch a meteor shower, and then watched the sun rise.
  13. I learned how to play blues guitar.
  14. I finished the academic component of the credentialing process with the Indiana District of the Assemblies of God.
  15. I took multiple day trips to different parts of Indiana with Sarah and Kizzy.
  16. Every other thing that I am forgetting at this point.
  17. I shaved.

Last year was the summer of firsts; but this summer definitely gave the previous one a run for its money.

Something my daughter taught me about humanity.


Kizzy with her guard pug, Skippy.

Let me set the scene:

I am sitting in my recliner drinking a cup of coffee this morning. The house is quiet and peaceful. Sarah is on the couch laying down; the dogs are taking morning naps. My daughter Kizzy is on the floor playing. She is contentedly grabbing the various toys, smiling as the shakes them and looks around.

But every three minutes or so, she pauses and looks up at me to see if I am looking at her. And then, if I am looking at her, am I smiling.

After about the third time of doing this, I became aware that this is a behavior pattern. And that this isn’t something limited to infants.

It’s human nature to want to things:

  1. It’s human nature to want people to notice us. We want to be seen and we want to know that someone knows we’re around.
  2. It’s human nature to want others to be loved.


And it’s funny that even at thirty, I still want to feel noticed and I want to be loved. In one way or another it feels like everything I do can be traced back to those notions. It’s selfish, but it’s true.

Where this becomes unselfish is in how it can transform the way we interact with others.

If we treat others in a way that understands and validates their innate need to feel seen and loved, it can transform not only them but us in the process.

Try it and see what happens.

Something for your Thursday.

This is my daughter Keziah (Kizzy) who just turned five months old last week. Her laugh is infectious. Watch this and try not to smile. Thanks to my wife who is holding Kizzy so I could record this video.  Happy Thursday!