10 Years Ago

May 2005.  I just graduated from Pepperdine and then made my way along the 1600 miles of I-10 from California to Houston Tx.  

I came for a Lifeline Chaplaincy internship, where I worked with kids from MD Anderson Cancer Center, older rehab patients at Methodist, and a little bit of interaction at Texas Childrens Hospital.   Life has not been the same since!  That was 10 years ago, amazingly.  I served with four other students, Josh, Maya and Sarah.  What a summer it was, learning about pastoral care, late nights with Josh at Taco Cabana (mind blowing at the time!), kids camp carpooling, and our end of summer project (pictured above).  

Our project was fun, and it sticks in my mind very clearly.  It was a sign of the importance of play, being a kid, and acknowledging the joy of that summer and those friendships.  If you notice, there are four handprints, one from each of the students, and then we gave each Lifeline employee a family personality.  It was quite fun and silly, but it was so special to me.  Really, it reminds me of the smiles that come from being silly with the things most important in my life.  When I take the time to be silly, I tend to remember those special events and relationships for far longer and they tend to bring me more smiles.  The silliness acknowledges the joy, acknowledges that a laugh can permeate and create life around it.  In this case, we acknowledged our summer with silliness and reflected the what we really learned in the summer- family, friendship, grappling with life’s blessings and failures, and loving kids- and doing all those things with a pastorally deep presence of joy and God’s love in the midst of all of life’s journey.  

10 years ago I learned some valuable lessons.  Play like a kid. Take time to be silly.  Chase my call with kids.  Relationships are the foundation of faith.  The power of joy in pastoral care.  Play is a great memorial. And today, teaching at the office of Lifeline, I am reminded of these lessons and the joy of that summer with this picture!

Getting Older

This morning as Ryan gets older, I couldn’t help but imagine his life as he passes through day care and goes to school.  It is fun to think about what he will be like as he becomes a boy and then a teen.  So, though contented with Ryan as he is, I have been imagining his future with smiles.  Going to school? Being a baseball player? Little league? Riding bikes? Looking like a cool teen with a reversed cap? Maybe you can imagine it too!


The Great Clean

Sunday afternoon actually turned out to be really awesome. Now, if you read the last post, you know about moving beds and getting a dog- all on Sunday too.  But after a fun lunch on Sunday at Saltgrass with Elana and Mikey (wife’s best friend), I got to go and share in a project that still makes me very humbled and happy.

A certain widow at our church is in the midst of her journey with dementia, and it has been hard to watch for the 6 years plus I have been in Houston.  It started before I arrived but has gotten much worse and much more self endangering in the last couple years.  More than once she has been found in a hospital after a wreck in her car she can’t remember or ending up lost on her drives.  She is forgetting the people most important to her and as always, becoming more stubborn than ever as she doesn’t want to believe it is happening to her.  But she is a wonderful woman, known for her baking and gardening and evidently a phenomenal love of Christmas decor.  She is also a devoted Christian and really funny, self proclaimed as a troublemaker actually.

Her house has suffered with dementia very much too, but she had refused help for it. It has become an unhealthy and potentially dangerous place for her, a place she had treasured as the house her husband built himself many years ago.  Until this past Sunday, refusal was all we could do. But two of her friends took her out on a planned trip, and during that 5 hour stretch, a team of 9 people from church rolled in and cleaned, washed, swept, vacuumed, and fixed their way through the house…but secretly! Everything that happened all was done in a way that would keep her from noticing that things were too different, and letting decor stay where it needed to to help her feel at home. 

 The sink was scrubbed, light bulbs replaced, bathroom sinks unstained, curtains were dusted, insects were sprayed and cleared, mattresses with springs sticking out were replaced, years of dust and leaves and dirt were swept out from both unseen places and very public places, and the years of moldy unsafe food in the refrigerator was cleared out.  The A/C was fixed.  Plumbing worked on.  From a very dirty house it became the house she truly loves to live in. 

It’s only a bandaid for a hard situation, but it is needed, and I am humbled that I got to serve just a little bit amongst this team of servants.  It is amazing to see others working within parameters of this situation to provide solutions and mostly, to show deep love and care with their hearts and time and aching work.  It’s a reflection of their desire to serve and bear the cross, in whatever unique way God may see fit.  And frankly, I am happy to be a part of it.  My parents may not be amazingly educated or well traveled, but they are servants.  My maternal grandparents were much the same way.  Servants who would go out of their way, even through extra hard work and sweat, to help their fellow Christians in the body of Christ.  I loved serving for a couple hours, both because I got to be like my parents and grandparents and because I love serving the body of Christ.  (I’m also a cleaner and get tons of happiness from cleaning but that’s for another post!)

I hope I take the opportunity when these things come up.  I hope I take the opportunity to let my kids grow in their love of serving and helping too. Even though I have really young kids, the call to serve and the opportunity to show them what joy comes through service is always a blessing. Thanks to Southwest Central CofC for this opportunity!

“Want a dog too?”

Sunday was a crazy day.  We bought two beds, one mattress, moved 4 beds, and…added a dog to our family!

Yes, we already have two dogs, a Golden Chow mix and a dachsund chihuahua mix.  And yes, we try really hard to give the two others attention.  But this one came along with a bedframe.  Yes indeed! 

The story is quite funny.  As I was moving out the bedframe from this families house, they stated that they just wanted the frame home and would have given it away for dirt cheap, and they would have throw in a dog.  The conversation should have ended there. But it didn’t.  The oldest daughter just said, “you want a dog too?” Um no. Not really. I have two and kids.  That’s enough.  But would you take a dog they say?  Well… I was already a sucker then.  So we proceed through 20 questions to confirm house training, habits, shot records, and idiosyncrasies.  Then the text to Elana- “you want another dog?” 

Answer from both of us? Why not! Having a dog(s) are fun, they were taking this dog to SPCA this week anyway because it is ex’s dog, and because they were willing to do a trial run to make sure he would get along with both of our dogs and both of our kids. Well, two days in, and we have ourselves a new family member, a 2 year old King Charles Spaniel, named…Twix!

So now, we have Twix the spaniel, Bailey the big golden, and Hot Fudge Sundae (Sundae for short) the chihuahua.  Awesome! I love having dogs, especially ours.