Morning by Morning (10/31/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The opportunity to help, interact, and play with Ryan and other kids at his daycare for their Fall/Halloween Festival. Cute kids and such fun to chat with them!
  2. The wonderful nurses who care for the kids and families at the hospital on holidays and special days and bring joy and healing to those difficult places.
  3. These pics!
  4. Laughter with friends!

Morning by Morning (10/27/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Ryan’s undying passion for doing laundry!
  2. Watching a World Series with the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians. The fans are great, the stadium environments are full of energy, and amazingly, one will win a World Series.  Luckily, I get to be a fan at this moment.
  3. The health of my children.  Yesterday I came face to face with two children, one at the age of each of mine, who seemed at the mercy of life’s circumstances. One had been diagnosed with AML, the other very injured in an accident, both suffering greatly but surrounded profoundly in love. I never pretend that my children deserve health or that God will protect us. Instead, I wake up every day, especially today, aware that my sons aren’t sick and hurting and that they too are surrounded by love.  That’s really what parenting is about isn’t it? Can’t control the rest of it…

Morning by Morning (10/26/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Aiden’s elementary school, which has had Weird Sock Day followed by Weird Hair Day.  These kinds of things are great and keep Aiden interested in school on those tough days, and give great laughs on the good days.
  2. Adem Lapaj- happy birthday old friend from my youth group! Fantastic basketball player with whom I always enjoyed talking sports!
  3. Our new chaplain Naguib, and his big heart and fun personality. I appreciate his presence on our staff.

Morning by Morning (10/25/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Rest, sleep, etc.  Ryan’s terrible 2’s have arrived in the last week and the fussiness has gone through the roof, and the meltdowns for small things have increased.  It’s quite funny at times! Not so other times.  But it makes me grateful for the rest that does come!
  2. Our facilities and cleaning staff at the hospital who maintain and refresh our rooms, bathrooms, waiting areas, and offices.  Taking care of our families and kids cannot happen without them.
  3. Naan and the spicy sauces that we bought from the Indian booth at the Farmers Market  (two of them actually- Ghost Chili sauce and Chilotle Almond sauce).  They might be salsas with an Indian kick. Whatever they are they are good.

One Child’s Journey, One Father’s Hope

Today I, with my church, experienced the blessing of witnessing Ellery McDaniel be baptized.  It was a beautiful moment and amazingly encouraging.  Ellery professed her faith in Jesus and her desire to humbly confess to God, “send me,” just as Isaiah did. That was a poignant confession of faith and a commitment to a journey with God.

Thank you Ellery for that, and thank you to Caleb and Brandy for being sojourners and guides for Ellery.  They have done a great job raising a fantastic young girl and this moment really brought it all together.

But this immersion in faith also points me forward. It points me to my own 2 children, a stepson and son.  Aiden and Ryan are moving their way on their journey as well, lived out through life at Southwest Central Church of Christ and amongst their family.  

Aiden and Ryan hold so much of Gods presence and story, and watching Ellerys commitment made me aware of my yearning for their recognition of Gods work in their lives.  I yearn not for them to “just” be baptized.  I yearn for them to see with Gods eyes.  I yearn not for them to find salvation in baptism.  I yearn instead for them to desire to join their story to Gods.  I yearn for them to embrace the God whose love is pursuing and persevering and gently beckoning in Christ who became flesh in Jesus.  I yearn for them to embrace life with God, and to further embrace that mission that Christ calls us to.

It’s not about them finding some moment to get baptized so that I can feel relieved.  But I do look forward to seeing how their story becomes full of faithful purpose, which all started back on that day when Ryan was born and I prayed for him to be surrounded by Gods love.  Brandy’s comment that they had prayed for so long and on those first days reminded me of my own first prayers.  And it made me teary realizing my desire was really awe at Gods work, knowing that Aiden and Ryan’s baptisms, if they ever choose it, will be an acknowledgement of Gods hand from that first day, first smile, and first prayer. 

I look forward to those days, not for selfish joy or some cheesy relief.  I look forward to these moments with anticipation of what God does in lives, and that every life and story really was Gods in the beginning.  It’s pure joy to watch my child at baptism call God not solely his Lord, but his friend and partner.

It’s possible these thoughts are not too clear, but it’s okay because I’m still sorting out this grateful hope! I love these moments and how I celebrate for others, but also how they give me pause, full of reflection of how God has transformed me as a parent and anticipation of how God will call me and my family further into his work.

Thanks Ellery, Caleb, and Brandy.

Morning by Morning (10/24/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Elana getting up with Ryan this morning for some short moments so I could catch a little extra sleep, although it was mostly used to just enjoy laying down and relaxing.
  2. The challenge to be be a better and more energetic chaplain that the Pediatric Chaplains Network Advisory Council gives me.  They are not only comforting and my community, but my encouragement too.
  3. Jumping on the trampoline with Ryan last night. It was great to see his energy back from a sick week.
  4. This!

Morning by Morning (10/18/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Finally being finished with everything at TCH and being able to board on the plane headed to Michigan. Going to meet some good friends and colleagues in Holland, Michigan!
  2. Talking Cubs and White Sox baseball to some guys on the plane.  It’s very sweet to be mid October and talking Cubs baseball.
  3. Ryan’s hugs, which I will miss for three days. I love his bear hugs of my neck and the smiles when he hugs me.
  4. Great chaplain colleagues at the hospital!
  5. Donna Canada and Nadia Hamdani, RN’s in the PICU who I admire greatly.  They are always helpful and very wise- they bring phenomenal expertise- but always doing it with smiles and compassion. They will never know how much I respect their work.

Morning by Morning (10/17/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The opportunity to present to our social workers and child life specialists among others about resilience, self care, and true renewal. 
  2. Elana’s presence the last couple days for helping with Ryan during his three sleepless and sick nights. Our laughter was a great boon.
  3. Our youth group conversation about prayer, it’s forms, and the need to protect it for ourselves and others.  Based upon images of Christians surrounding Muslims in prayer and Muslims protecting a Christian church, the discussion was a reminder of this gift that allows us to communicate with God and develop a precious relationship.

Morning by Morning (10/15/16)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Reading to Ryan at bedtime.  He just has this great smile on his face when we get to read together.  It’s just a joy- and then seeing him imitate sounds or try to say words is so cute!
  2. Soda, rather soda that is to the rescue of a father and mother who have been up through the night with vomiting child. Coke Zero and Sonic!
  3. A new back door screen door.
  4. Mannys (father in law) willingness to help in a pinch.

Morning by Morning (10/11/16)

My daily gratitude for: 

  1. The time to be outdoors yesterday and take in some beautiful nature.
  2. The experience of being just feet away from alligators without the protection of a fence.  Amazing creatures!
  3. Good quality time with Aiden yesterday morning.
  4. Clint and Linle (sp.?) Boyd, a couple who are invested in campus ministry and the Chinese church and who live in our neighborhood now. Their newborn boy Luke is so cute!
  5. Ashlee’s (child lifer at the hospital) baby Liam!!! Welcome Liam!