Nov 28, 2008

The CHRISTmas tree is up!

It's the day after Thanksgiving. A day when we usually want to put the tree up. Mindy and I always hated putting up the tree. We have a prelit, artificial much easier could it be. But it still seemed like such a chore. Usually I took all the boxes out of the attic, and she and the kids would decorate. This year I took the boxes down like usual, and my oldest stepped up and grabbed the parts of the tree and took over. That let me focus on the other decorations and it turned out okay. Mindy did it better, but it'll do.

Now I just need to start wrapping all the gifts I have hidden around the house so it will really look like CHRISTmas around the house. Each year at Thanksgiving I try to reflect on things I'm really thankful for. This year was difficult, not that I have less to be thankful for. The opposite is probably more true. But the emotions attached this year were more than I was expecting. I'm getting pretty good and hiding it from the kids though. I don't hide from them all the time, they need to know that I feel just like they feel. But sometimes, it's too much for me, all the overwhelming emotions. I can be on the brink of tears, drowning in sorrow and then I could think of something Mindy would say and I'll be so over joyed that I was able to spend a good decade with her. They don't really need to see all that. But I digress, this year I must say that above all I'm thankful for God's presence.

I've had more than one in the last two months where I had to put my faith in God that things would work out well. And on each occassion, things did not go anywhere near the expected path. But in the end it all worked out well. That presence of God, that he is looking out for my family. That he does hear my prayers. What could I possibly be more thankful for than that? Be sure to give thanks for all you have, and all that God has taken from you. His will is perfect, even if you don't understand it.

Nov 24, 2008

White Rock Relay

I've always planned on running the White Rock Marathon, but I've never really trained for it. I always seem to procrastinate and start training too late in the season. This year I got in with a great group of guys to "Run the Rock" as a 5 man relay. I figured even without as much training as I'd like, I can knock out 5-6 miles for the relay.

This year the relay is on my nephew's birthday. So when we get finished in Dallas we'll head back for some BBQ. As we get into the Holy-days season I always get anxious that I won't get the right gifts, but I got a call this morning from my grandmother that reminded me that family is a really great gift. This year especially, there has been so much loss in and around our family. So for my family that may be reading, I hope you like your gifts. But if not, I hope you enjoy the time we get to spend together. And may God grant us many more to comfort and support one another.

Speaking of comfort and support, I've been putting off getting a new pair of running shoes. I hope my current ones will last through December. I plan on running with less equipment this year also. In previous years I ran with a GPS device and my MP3 player. This year I'm just taking my Blackberry. I downloaded a decent app to use the built in GPS locator to keep my pace, and I'll download my "running tunes" to keep me motivated.

Nov 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Son!

My one and only son just turned 7! They really do grow up way too fast. He's such a mature 7 year old. He helps me around the house, does dishes, and for the most part gets along well with his sisters. And he's the smartest little boy I know (all parents have to say that right?).

So, happy birthday sugar bear! Here's looking forward to your next birthday and all the fun days we can have in between! I love you!

Nov 17, 2008

My baby can dance!

My little baby girl has been taking dance for about a year now. Mindy enrolled her in the same dance school that Mindy went to as a little girl, and even bought an adult pair of tap shoes so she could help her practice at home. They both seemed to love it. But when it came time for the recitals there was always one little girl who just stood still on stage, like a deer in the headlights. That would be my little angel.

I've watched her dance in class, and talked to her instructor and she can dance really well. She just gets really shy. So I've been telling her all week how her instructor told me she was good. And I saw her dance and it was great so she should show everyone else. She had her first recital of the '08-'09 season last night and she danced every step of it. I was so proud of her! When she was done I scooped her up and just poured praises on her. She was grinning ear to ear. We all went for some ice cream to celebrate afterwards. I hope this good experience will continue for the remaining recitals. And she looked so cute in her Santa cap.

Nov 14, 2008

Friday in Faith

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

The scripture that really touched me most this week was one I just re-read last night. I had read this quite a while ago when cross referencing my study of Revelations. But I haven't read it since Mindy passed. It just opened my heart with a glimmer of what it might be like when I am reunited with Mindy, my Great Grandmothers, and even the loved ones I never met, but are still my brothers and sisters in Christ. Could you imagine the joy, the pure love that would be exchanged!

When I read this passage the song Amazing Grace pops into my head. Because 'twas grace that taught my heart to fear. The song has always struck a chord in me, but it was played at Mindy's service and it's had a deeper meaning for me in reflection of the short decade I had with her.

What in the world is going on?

I went last night to see Dr. David Jeremiah preach on topics covered in his book What in the World Is Going On? and overall I enjoyed it. I will say that I've only heard "Turning Point", his radio show, a few times so I wasn't very familiar with him. I went in a little skeptical, only because these days you have to be certain you are getting the Word of God, not a worldly perception of the word.

The evening began at 7pm and started with worship in song. This was wonderful at first, but an hour in I was ready for the main act. After an hour and a half of singing praises, which I love to do, Dr. Jeremiah took the stage. His initial comments set off my alarms. He made statements on various world events and natural disasters that had occurred in the last year. He briefly mentioned hurricane Katrina, and the issues in Myanmar. Now I know Katrina was in August of 2005 and I thought the major issues addressed by the UN in Myanmar were more than a year old as well. In further review it appears that issues in Myanmar did extend into 2008 and one could argue that the issues are not resolved today. But to state that Katrina occurred in the past 12 months?? Where was he going with this.

Now I will say that the remainder of the evening was strongly rooted in the true Word of God. And I did not discern any other discrepancies with what Dr. Jeremiah stated. I agreed with his points on the second coming of Christ and even got a new context for some scripture I was only fairly familiar with. And yes, I reviewed that scripture (1 Thes 4:13) later in the evening for further thought. This scripture really had me thinking of Mindy, and at that point in time I wanted Jesus to come back NOW! I was ready to meet my savior and be reunited with all my loved ones. But it's not my will, it's His will. His timing will be perfect, you'll see when we get there.

To any interested in seeing Dr. Jeremiah I would suggest it as a good time of fellowship outside of your local church, with like minded conservative Christians. In retrospect, I believe his statement about Katrina being in the last year was most likely a misstatement or misunderstanding. As his context for the statement was not incorrect at all. And ultimately it didn't matter if it was twelve months or thirty nine months. He wasn't giving a specific time frame for the second coming, as no one on earth knows that. But rather some events that could be indications as revealed in the Word.

Nov 12, 2008

All morning in court

Today was the first hearing in my adoption case for my oldest daughter. I call her my daughter, cause to me she always has been. I've been raising her since she was two years old. But legally she is my step daughter. Hopefully that will all be changed soon. Her biological father (Bio Dad as he was referred to in court today) was not at the hearing and his lawyer requested a continuance. But his attorney had very little information to offer. It appears that Bio Dad has only spoken to his attorney on one occassion prior to the hearing.

I know very little about Bio Dad's case other than he is counterpetitioning my claims. I found out today from my attorney that he has three DWI's in another state (in TX that would be a felony) and he has recently left rehab and secured a regular job. These new bits of information don't really change the status of my case. I won't go into the details of it all here, but hopefully soon when all is said and done I can post some of the particulars to help other Step-parents that are looking to adopt. For now I've been given all the rights Mindy had, as declared in the divorce from Bio Dad. That's a step in the right direction, but it's just a temporary order.

I had a chat with my daughter last night to see if she still held the same position on the adoption as she did when she spoke with her court appointed attorney. She does, she wants to stay here with her family and friends. She wants to live with her Dad (me, of course) and siblings. I never have been great at praying, it's my weak link. But I've prayed a lot the last few days. Probably as much as I should be praying all the time! Please pray with me that the court rules in the best interest of the children.

Nov 11, 2008

I'm wrong cause Obama is right

Yesterday on my way home with the kids I got a call from an automated service offering me a lower interest rate. I waited patiently for the prompt to press some digit to remove my phone number from the list, but there was no such prompt. So I chose to speak with the agent. A pleasant voice came to the phone asking if I was responding to the automated message. I stated that it was in deed a response of sorts and she quickly went into her script to sell me some goods or services. I told her I just wanted my phone number removed from the list, and this is where the conversation took a weird turn.

The agent responded in a snide tone that I should have told her that up front (we are about 7 - 10 seconds into a conversation) and that "Obama doesn't front like that, Obama is for real". What??

Who said anything about Obama? Was this a new service where I was going to get some rich person's money to pay my bills?? She then called me several expletives and told me what I should do and how Obama will do it. I doubt Obama would appreciate her speaking for him, but she was apparently comfortable doing so.

So to all the Wildershow listeners out there, I was in doubt...but it has begun. There is no stopping the insanity. There is no logic, there is no sense of reasoning for the so dubbed "Obambots".

I must say I wanted to give her the what for over the phone, but I quickly remembered the kids in the car as my 12 year old looked at me when I gasped at the Obama statements from way out in left field. So I refrained, but I really wanted to let her have a few points of my own. I tried to call the number (323-429-7522) back later to report the agent, but to no avail.

Now I know not all Obama supporters are similar to this person. But there is definitely more than one out there, and the number appears to be getting larger in my experience. So to those who still appreciate moral value, logic, and thinking for one's self; hang in there it may be a long four years.

Nov 10, 2008

The Weekend Blur

Saturdays have quickly become the most hectic day of the weekend. I have managed to retain the privilege to sleep in on Saturday mornings...for now. I stir the kids around 8:45a or 9a and get them up. Then at 10:45a it's off to dance class. After dance all the little monsters are hungry so we round up some lunch. Some weekends we then head to my in-laws for the day, where the kids can play outside and burn off a lot of energy (aka sugar). Other weekends we head back home and start cleaning house, laundry, etc.

This past weekend was a really nice one. We went to the in-laws and had a wiener roast by a campfire. The kids followed that up with s'mores (Cajun style...blackened). Then the evening was wrapped up with a hayride around the block. The sky was clear and the stars were bright. The air was crisp, but not too cold. It was a very nice night. The little ones fell asleep in the car on the way home, and that makes for a nice quiet ride! I hope your weekend was a good as my weekend. I hope you spent time with your family and that it was as enjoyable as my time with my family.

Nov 7, 2008

Friday in Faith

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I was reading this after getting an email with a passage in the same chapter earlier this week and it reminded me of Mindy. This was one of her favorites and she had rings and bracelets with similar inscriptions.

I have faith, hope and love. These three are rooted in Christ. And I have faith that he is the truth and I will be rejoined with her at his perfect time. And I have hope that his word will lead me to raise my children in a way that would glorify him first and foremost, but also honor Mindy. And of course the greatest of these is love. God's love and grace allowed Mindy to sit at his side now. She was baptised, as a show of her faith, on October 28,2007. That profession of faith along with her acts towards the kids should remind them of the love Mindy had for each of them. Love is the greatest, to be loved gives you the power to love. God loved us first and his love is unending.

Nov 6, 2008

What 12 year old girls don't tell Dad

My almost teenage daughter is struggling at school this year. I know it's a combination of her sudden interest in boys and losing her mother, but it's still frustrating. I ask questions, I follow up, I remind her of various events, but I can't do the work for her. So while I'm reviewing her grades I see that she is failing athletics. Yes, seriously, athletics. Her grade has dropped to a 58 because she won't wear the gym clothes at school. When I asked why, I get "I left them in my locker". So as the wise and astute Dad I think I am I see this as an organization problem. I proceed to fix it by giving her step by step instructions (how ignorant!). If only I could refactor and recode my kids as easily as some C# or VB.

A week or so later, her grandmother quickly finds out that the issue is that she doesn't want to show her legs in gym because of her eczema. Now, that is obviously the real reason but I never would've guessed, and she wasn't going to tell me. So now I remind her to put lotion on her legs each night and she has sweat pants to wear during gym. One failing grade down...three more to go.

Now this is the same girl who rushes home to tell me about cute boys, and all the reasons why she should have a boyfriend. And I listen...a lot, and talk very little (even though my head is spinning!). But for the life of me I don't know why she can speak about all her "crushes" but hides her self esteem issues from me. To me they would go hand in hand. I guess that's why I'm Dad and not Mom. Thank God for a whole set of wonderful sisters (in-law) that can step in for me here. Not to mention the whole host of other family that have been supporting us. Raising kids is the hardest job I'll ever love. Raising a teenage girl is something all together different! Equal but different.