Morning by Morning (12/30/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Quality time with Liz’s parents, Paul and Maria. I respect them so much and love the laughter and food and celebration with them.
  2. Seeing Florida, and seeing some cool sights like St Augustine, Daytona Beach, the Speedway, Cocoa Beach, and Castillo de St Marcos. I love being a tourist with Liz!
  3. A romantic walk with Liz through historic district of St Augustine 🙂
  4. Meeting some of Liz’s best friends, Kerry, Sarah, and Becky. We have had the best conversations and food and drinks over the last two days! They are great people who I’ve only known for a short bit, but love already.
  5. Cuban food.
  6. Palm trees.

Morning by Morning (12/28/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Spending a night with Aiden at a football game. I really enjoyed the presence of Stephen and JD and how they helped Aiden feel comfortable. But the time and laughter and quality time with this boy whom I deeply love and treasure left me so happy and moved. I got to smile with him and that was awesome!
  2. The beauty of Christmas with my family. This year Christmas felt liberating and setting off on a new beginning. I loved it.
  3. My parents. They are great people and the ones who know me best from the first moment I existed. I love, love, love them!!
  4. The friendship of Natalie Peters. I love having a fellow chaplain who shares my humor and is a fantastic encourager and supporter.
  5. The people in my Ecclesia care group who have offered me tickets to football games, watched my dog, and invited me to Christmas meals. They have humbled me with their generosity and Christ like love.

Morning by Morning (12/26/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Ryan saying prayer for our Denham Christmas dinner yesterday. He does not pray out loud very often and is shy when speaking. Just a gift that I will cherish forever! He wanted to pray, he prayed clearly, in thanks for family, in thanks for milk for Santa, in thanks for our toys, in thanks for milk for drinking, and thanks for his cousins and playtime. My little boy gave me the greatest gift of all yesterday!
  1. My FaceTime from Cambry, Adam, and Jon and all their wives. That call is worth so much of belonging and joy as they are the best friends anyone can ask for.
  2. The play of children in a trampoline.
  3. Parental wisdom from my mom and dad. Well appreciated.
  4. Goodbyes said well, with tears of joy and gratitude. This week has required goodbyes to my brothers and will require a goodbye to my parents. Goodbyes and tears are wonderful things when filled with love and joy.
  5. Christmas humor….

Morning by Morning (12/25/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. This season of Advent which has brought lots of joy, but has held much more hope than it ever has. Thanks to Liz and my family for that!
  1. Waking up to my brothers and parents for Christmas and having quiet time of appreciation in front of the tree and gathering ourselves for the waking of children.
  2. Experiencing the generosity and kindness of my parents towards me and Ryan. It’s of course obvious at Christmas, but they are so wonderful throughout the year!
  3. The welcome and joy of Liz’s family. They have taken me in and showered me with wonderful love even from a distance this morning.
  4. Ryan and Elijah doing a great job sharing all weekend.
  5. The always delicious Christmas breakfast, which is always a little different, but always has bacon, avocado, eggs, and lots of berries. But more importantly it is a meal with everyone family around the table and it’s such a joyful thing.
  6. Playing disc golf with my brothers over the last two days. I love my one on one time with each of them!
  7. The fun of Santa Claus and a child’s imagination. I got to make cookies with the boys last night, read a Santa book, set out milk with them, imagine Santa coming into the house and leaving gifts, and then have this morning to see their joy become complete. It’s like our faith that becomes complete as our stories intertwine and emerge in beautiful ways.


I was given a poem at a retreat with my fellow chaplains, and we were told to write a reflection or free write about our ministry and our lives. The words carry the stories spoke to me and by virtue of that I felt in that time the burdens of life at home with my hurt and others hurt and work with so many others hurts.

Carry the stories.


Carry them.

Carry them anywhere and everywhere.

but nowhere.

Carry what?

Carry burdens?

Carry story?

Carry hearts?

Carry loads?

Carry others but what about my own…

Carry the stories.

Carry light that can’t be touched.

Carry darkness that has no light.

Carry stories of light and dark.

Carry my own light and dark.



Carry their stories, carry my stories.

Carry our heartache, carry their heartache.

Carry painful endings, sorrowful starts, grief stricken journeys.

Carry patients.

Carry families.

Carry staff.

Carry colleagues.

Carry their stories of pain.

Carry my stories of pain.

Carry my stories of failure.

Carry my stories of not enough.


Carry too much, carry not enough.

Carry a child’s story, carry my child’s story.

Carry their stories as well.

Carry, carry, carry.

Someone carry me.

Carry celebration, carry great.

Carry joy, carry pain.

Carry children’s smiles.

Carry, their last breath.

Carry my sons breath, my sons light.

Carry the stories.

stories of others?

stories of mine?

Carry their anger, carry my anger.

Carry children who dance, carry children who sing.

Carry stories of children who don’t.

Carry burdens.

Carry stories.

Carry the stories.

Carry their stories.


God, carry me.

Morning by Morning (12/22/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Family time with my brothers. It’s been a year since we have been together, so I love this time to laugh and scheme and relax.
  2. Feeling so deeply loved by my parents. The Christmas season and their visit just brings an overwhelming sense of care and contentment and people I can be so honest with.
  3. The wisdom that often comes with quiet meditation.
  4. The hilarious and special connection of my family, including my parents and Ryan, to the Lucas family. They are my people, all of them.
  5. Riding a tractor with Ryan!!!! (Pictured)
  6. Completing LEGO sets.
  7. Smooth country roads. I mean some can get really bumpy and potholed puzzles…so the smooth ones are really really nice.!

Morning by Morning (12/21/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Couples dates with my parents. It’s a beautiful thing to enjoy time together with my beautiful girl and my parents and feel content.
  2. Being a Pepperdine alum.
  3. Ryan’s play imagination and the talking to himself that is so cute while he 8magines his way through the day. I love watching kids imagine scenes and enact their visions and exert control in their play.
  4. Watching a Ryan play with his Papa John and Grandma. Always a gift!
  5. Adam Warford, who I attended Pepperdine with. I loved his wit and humor! Happy birthday Adam!
  6. Dan Kryder, another fellow Pepperdine alum who always brought lots of joy and laughter, and who I loved playing frisbee golf with because he was good! Happy birthday Dan!
  7. Finally getting a passport again. I let it expire for complex reasons, but to have finally applied for the new one gives such a sense of possibility and potential. Being grateful for getting the passport even gave me a sense of peace waiting in the post office!

Morning by Morning (12/19/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The coming arrival of my parents today, which will bring a lot of joy and excitement in the apartment.
  2. Watching The Polar Express with Ryan. I got so excited watching the train and moving along with it with Ryan, singing the songs with him (well, on my own with him around), and even getting misty eyed when the boy hears the bell for the first time. I loved sharing the experience with Ryan.
  3. Lindsay Marolf, because she is an encouragement and a great supporter of me. I hope I am and get to be the same for her.
  4. Parking across the street from the hospital. My job satisfaction goes way up when I am parking close to work.
  5. Ryan’s independence. I noticed this yesterday when he came out to see Ben after his bedtime, of course on his own, and then I was able to send him back to bed without walking him there. He is becoming a wonderful, mischievous little boy!!!
  6. Giving gifts to my friends, like Stephen, Dawn, Ben, Bell, and others. Love the feeling!
  7. The see inside puzzle Ryan got from Sherry. He plays with it every morning and night and loves the challenge.

Morning by Morning (12/18/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. when joy wins. Because as a Christian, a father, a son, a pediatric chaplain…joy does triumph. For those who don’t celebrate Advent or Christmas, joy still triumphs. It’s the human gift that can’t be contained.
  1. Not having car payments right now.
  2. The thick fog we have this morning. Fog always fills me with me with wonder and gives the crisp morning added flair.
  3. Great friendship with Adam Boatz and his girlfriend Samantha. It’s always pleasure seeing him and seeing him doing well.
  4. Kombucha from Kickin Konbucha. Love the company and the folks who work there, and love the kombucha just as much!
  5. Today being my last full day of work before Christmas vacation!!
  6. Beautiful flowers around the apartment complex…signs of grace if I can notice as I walk around or drive through.

Morning by Morning (12/17/18)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Opening our first Christmas gifts of the season with the Lucas family! I love the joy and care they always put into our gifts.
  2. Michael Bell. He’s a devoted and thoughtful husband and father and friend. What he loves he loves so fully! I want to be like that too.
  3. The amazing world of space and it’s exploration. NASA was so amazing to explore this weekend.
  1. Connecting with parents from the Retreat of Renewal and having a sense of mutual care and love. These parents are grieving still, and their love for their child gets richer and richer. I privileged to walk the journey over years with them, through small moments here and there.
  2. Matt and Brittany, and their two kids. I really enjoyed our lunch after church yesterday and laughing and storytelling through our parenthood!
  3. Random interactions with strangers about being a hospital chaplain. I really love the opportunity to proclaim the good work we pediatric chaplains do.
  4. Eggs for breakfast!
  5. Ryan’s first Christmas gift, a track with motorized cars…he loves it with unbridled passion!I get to watch with wonder 🙂