Morning by Morning (8/31/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. My chaplain team at Texas Childrens Hospital.  I’m proud of all we are able to do as a small team and very proud of the great skill in our group.
  2. Wearing polo shirts at work.  I’m seriously too laid back to wear button up shirts every day and I’m grateful I’m allowed to be as comfortable I can get within reason!
  3. The plethora of desserts that I am running around with these days- 3 pans of delicious brownies and multiple bags of homemade cookies.  Love the sweets and love the people who made them and gave them even more.
  4. Being married and having a partner who covers when I’m not on my game this morning and miss a couple important steps.

I’m a Parent Too

Today as I was visiting the father of a new diagnosis of diabetes, I found myself sitting opposite from someone quite different.  

He was black, I white. He was tall, I quite not! He was an athlete and coach, and I more the stocky wannabe athlete.  He has been married quite a long time, talks in generalities, depends on his coaching community more than his church, and he seems to prefer the Titans over the Texans. Most of those things don’t describe me at all.

But there was one thing that we bonded on immediately.  He loves his son.

His pride flowed as quickly as I got in the room.  Pride maybe, joy more importantly. 

Joy that his son can dribble.

Joy that his son is smart and good in his pre-K.

Joy that he and his son get to be partners and always together.

Joy that he has a son and that he sees his son imitating him and learning from him.

Joy because he is full of love for this child.

And this…despite the differences we share is why I could look him in the eye and tell him I see how broken he is.

Parenthood, as are many other experiences, is the equalizer that allows me a place at the table when I visit. Often I am asked if I have kids, and when families find I do, their comfort level with me increases. They find that they hav someone who understands.

And I think they do. I am a father whose great loves include my child, my son.  And my greatest nightmares include the sickness, pain, hurting, and even death of my little boys.  

But what compels me in the face of both my deep joy and deep fear as a parent is my love for my child. Love that never fades, never wavers. Yes, there are times where I haphazardly wonder why I had kids (every parent has been there!) and wish I had lots of ‘me’ time.  But in the midst of any tiredness or aggravation or trial, I only know my love for my son.

That was this father.  We both bonded over what it means to have a best friend son, a child with whom I am well pleased, and a gift that yearns to smile because of and with us. Being a father is a special gift, and even being a parent is a life giving and changing role.  Loving my child is a gift and it is one simple key into recognizing what makes others tick. 

A parental love is unwavering, deep as can be, beyond words.  It’s beautiful. It gives smiles and fills my heart with more joy than I can describe. 

I saw this in that father.  He knew I understood what it was like to be fearful that his gift was struggling.  He knew I cared not just out of my job, but because being a parent has every ability to bring one to our kneess in joy and in pain.

He was a dad.  As am I.  And I will take every step as a dad, just like him, carrying every joy and fear to the foot of God and trying to describe the love that compels me forward.  I was blessed by this father’s reminder of the depths of a fathers (and mothers) love.

Morning by Morning (8/30/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. All the encouragement cards I received for my birthday.  My church friends were quite gracious and encouraging.
  2. Elana and the kids going grocery shopping yesterday. I was thinking I would have to go but she was kind to go and do it with the kids.
  3. Playing football with kids in the neighborhood and having Ryan walking around e noting himself.  It was neighborhood bliss! I even got to have a glass of wine courtesy of good friends in the neighborhood at halftime!
  4. Ryan being happy, smiling, and knowing he’s loved.
  5. Having a yard well kept.

Morning by Morning (8/29/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. A wonderful birthday weekend thanks to Elana, Josh & Andrea Day, Mikey, the city of Austin, Stanton’s truck-stopper burger, and many others.  Good birthday!
  2. Road trips. I like driving, researching good places, being spontaneous when you don’t need to research, and having company along the way.  Can’t wait till Ryan is ready for car trips.
  3. Our three dogs who are more than great friends and companions for us and more importantly, are so interactive and patient with Ryan.
  4. Riding trains. Love it!
  5. The brownies made for me by my colleagues in the PICU! Very sweet and shout out to Angela who made them!

Morning by Morning (8/25/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Paige Cargioli, a great friend from college and a fellow Spiritual Life Advisor there at Pepperdine. Crazy cool red hair, crazy cool personality! Happy birthday Paige!
  2. Good news for Elana’s foot and particularly not having to go through surgery and not getting casted either.  This is really big news!
  3. The way the teens care for Ryan and make him laugh.  It’s such a joy to see their interaction.
  4. A calm, good morning.

Morning by Morning (8/24/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Bryce Jones.  Remembering good Bible Bowls and youth ministry hang outs with you and loving our laughs and rides in my truck!
  2. Gay Jones, Bryce’s grandfather (Cambry’s as well), who was generous and kind and immensely wise, all of which his wife Joan matched. A great couple that helped buy me my first suit, green no less, and made my first church a place of home.
  3. Ryan carrying a stuffed tiger around most mornings.  It’s cute that he has found and bonded with a stuffed animal.  This morning he carried the tiger with an arm wrapped around his neck and a cup of milk in the other. He would not let go of the tiger regardless of our activity.
  4. My kids knowing Drake and learning how to care for kids who have endured a lot!

Morning by Morning (8/23/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The book When Helping You is Hurting Me.  It is a great challenge to set boundaries and more importantly, to experience true intimacy through recognizing my own needs and worth.  
  2. Ryan’s peaceful sleeping in our bed this morning.  Amazingly gentle and precious!
  3. Phil Rice, who celebrated his birthday yesterday.  I love his humility and passion for faith, for campus ministry, for Sunday morning services, and for his wife and daughter. Happy birthday Phil!
  4. Steve and Jo Sandifer and their commitment to the kingdom of God and their realism about life.
  5. Life cereal. Seriously love it.

Morning by Morning (8/22/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Another first day of school for Aiden.  Today he was looking particularly older with his stellar George Springer like haircut. (We need this school thing as parents, giving order to our days finally!)
  2. Elana being way more than helpful this morning as I was very tired and struggled to wake up through the morning.  
  3. Ryan trying to say words like “school” or “blue” or “tractor” or whatever else he is imitating.  Pretty cool and cute!
  4. Chicken vindaloo, which I got to make last night thanks to some Pearland Farmers Market goodies!

Morning by Morning (8/20/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The toddler book, Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton.  It’s a great book for Ryan- he is starting to say “oops” and identifying colors too.  So cool to see these little and simple milestones!
  2. Elana’s arranging a early birthday dinner with good friends at BB’s Cafe, a Cajun place (a chain I admit!) I really enjoy.
  3. A beautiful morning.  
  4. The medical staff who are so fiercely passionate and protective of the kids they care for, and in particular the ones who are dying.  I’ve seen some phenomenal love from nurses towards a teen with a brutal cancer and even more difficult social concerns.
  5. The feeling of God being with me at work. It’s confidence giving and at times allows me to be pretty calm in the midst of chaos.

Morning by Morning (8/19/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Those moments when a not so impulsive person becomes an impulsive buyer because my son does something really cute, like the picture below.  Yeah, I bought the chair.  I am grateful for those heart warming moments.
  2. Ben and Nicole’s upcoming wedding.  I am grateful because I have seen them grow, challenge each other, and make it through tough times.  I want this wedding to a good moment to recommit and continue their love story of many years.
  3. The upcoming college football season. I love watching college football, even if USC is going to make me sad and wander aimlessly many times.
  4. Laying next to Elana in bed this morning.  Good feeling.