Tag Archives: Calvin

Painting the Garage

Have you ever been in a situation that there were expectations but not enough time to complete the task or tasks?  

This week, I drove to DFW to see the newest Estes – my grandson. And my son, on paternity leave, seems too have a project for me to do – paint the garage. Now, this isn’t too tough … only one of the four walls … one. He moved most the exercise equipment out of the way so it seemed to be not too difficult a task. He has the paint, he has most the stuff – he just wanted me to paint.

I took the task, considered my time frame, and considered my true desire to actually paint. So I agreed to prep. I got the tape – Frog Paint tape – the green stuff. It took several hours to prep the wall – and now, the tape is laid, the wall is bare, and the equipment on the wall is wrapped in vinyl. One hole needs to be worked on.  But overall, the prep is complete and the paint is waiting to be plastered, rolled, and brushed. A deep blue to help calm the one exercising in the garage.

But I feel I disappointed him. I did have down time. I could have done more. Even as I type this, he is asking if I finished.

We live in a world of disappointment. A world where expectations fall short. A world where people let people down. Some say it is opportunity for growth and can make you stronger. 

What do we do?

  • Let it go. Holding bitterness can have major repercussions, physical, emotional, and relational. 
  • Get perspective. I could’ve done the wall but then I might miss time with them, or wasted my days off doing the job a 30 year old homeowner can do himself. Maybe I am being selfish, but what is done is done.
  • Know your heart. Know what is important to you. I have helicoptered, spoiled, and at times, probably made my boy a bit entitled. Maybe this is too little too late. But I would rather s[pend time with family then paint a family’s wall.
  • Let it go. Oops, I said that already. That is because many still hold on to it. So watch the movie Frozen, listen to the soundtrack, and sing Let It Go.
  • Don’t let it fester.  Churchill once said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of Enthusiasm.”

I am coming back in less that four weeks. If it isn’t painted by then, maybe I will pick up a brush. Till then – I … and you … can be a little healthier about handling disappointment. 

The Wheels on the Bus

A Birthday Post … with a twist.

Maybe I should’ve titled this post “The Circle of Life” for that’s what I’m feeling. Either way, it’s all going round-n-round-n-round.

Thirty-One years ago, my wife was taken to the hospital. A parasitic life form had been growing inside her and was beginning to want its way out of her body. She wanted it out too. It was not an uncommon event. Billions of others had gone through a similar process. In the end, my wife pushed a huge headed, screaming lungs, life form out of her body. And the parasite no longer was living off her. And then, he began to be a parasitic life form living off my bank account.

He grew. Learned to eat. Learn to walk. Learned to ride a Razor. Learned to drive. Learned to tug the deepest feelings of love from his parents. He has grown into a noble young man.

As he grew, he met a woman. A beautiful woman that seduced him, stole his attention from his life giving mother … and then she took him away from his mother. Oh, the crime of humanity. And now, 31 years later, the parasitic life form has created his own parasitic life form growing inside the woman he met. Ah, the circle of life.

In about 5 to 6 weeks, that parasitic life form will want its way out of her … and the wheels on the bus (of life) go round and round.

What can we say about our kids?

  • I think kids are God’s way to school us. We learn so much about life from being a parent.
  • Kids deepen our prayer life. I can’t remember being so dependent on God as have been since I have became a parent.
  • Insanity is hereditary. We get it from our kids.
  • Kids teach us a depth and dimension of love we never knew before. Ok … puppies, kittens, sports … deep stuff. But our kids! Oh the love.
  • Kids teach us patience. They teach us to watch our mouth. They teach us to see the world differently.
  • And when we see our flaws reproduced in them … ouch.

So today … my son … on your 31st birthday, I hope your parasite brings you as much joy as you brought me.

PastorDude’s Podcast #4

As a young 3 year old – Calvin decided to hide at church. Ands like Mary & Joseph looked for Jesus, we looked for my son. Fortunately, it didn’t take 3 days to find him. Looking for and using Teachable Moments … 7min listen.

Click the artwork below or here to open the audio player.

What teachable moment has God used in your life lately?

New Kid on the Block

Do you remember who won Super Bowl XXV, 30 years ago? Do you remember who did the halftime shows? Do you care?

Last night, ChampaBay Bucs won Super Bowl LV and The Weekend did the halftime show. And in 30 years, will it mean anything more than a statistical blip? A great blip, thanks to Brady, but a blip just the same.

Thirty years ago, the NY Giants beat their stately brothers of Buffalo. And the halftime show – The New Kids on The Block. It was the first halftime show to move from bands to A-listers.

But also 30 years ago, there was another new kid on the block, someone who has eternal ramifications. 30 years ago, my wife and I gave our greatest addition to the world – our son, Calvin. (Born 2.8.91)

His first breath was taken in Dallas, yet he is a Philadelphia Eagle fan. He was there as we moved across 5 states. He spent most his formative teenage years in the ‘804’ (Richmond Va) area. Loves volleyball. We took some cool road trips through Yellowstone, Tahoe, Yosemite, Chicago, Estes Park, Zion, Arches, the USCGA, and more. We went to several football games together. I drove through blizzards to get him Taco Bell. We drove three hours to Austin to get a Tropical Smoothie. He graduated from my Alma Mater. And then at the Red River Cantina, on the dance floor, his life changed. He met, danced, and eventually married a beautiful princess and they make their home in their cosy castle in Fort Worth.

As excited as millions are over Tom Brady, I am even more excited over Calvin … my GOAT addition to this world.

Happy Birthday.

Once Upon a Time … Four Quests

Once upon a time, there was a little boy. Though born into a household with ordinary parents, this was no ordinary little boy. He is destined for greatness and glory.

This little boy’s story all started like many stories, with a love between a man and woman. And this man, a nomadic cleric, and woman, a picture of beauty, grace, and selflessness, had just this one child. And no child in the history of children has ever been loved more than he.

His story is more than just one tale, but today we share a little bit about the places this boy called home.

Because of the fathers occupation, this threesome moved around quite a bit. They traveled from the land of just one star to the East. They lived in the forest of Wake, in the fields of Chester, studied on the hills of Clover, travelled on the roads of Hampton, and even spent time in the dales of Ware, the oak’s of Red, and the borough of Rox. Yes they moved around and this little boy, who has now grown up to be quite a young man, has no real place to call “home.”

So this young man has made his way back to the land of just one star.

As stated earlier, he is destined for greatness. But to do this, he must face four challenges – four life changing events that will define him.

The first is a quest for a priceless treasure. This treasure will be both hidden and visible. Like a Diamond hidden among glass baubles, the lad would have to discern the true worth of what is before him. And once he finds the treasure, he must convince the treasure that they are destined to be together. For this treasure is alive and will be the boy’s greatest asset in life. The treasure wants to be treated like, well, a treasure.

And this first challenge has been completed. For the lad has discovered his treasure, he wooed it, values it, and knows this treasure will always be at his side.

Now the second challenge – a quest to find the place to call “home” – for every great journey has a place to call home. Every great story has a house, a palace, a castle, villa, cave, treehouse, candy coated cottage, tower, or even a shoe to call their own.

And this home was not just for the two of them – but for the companions picked up along the way. Two magical beasts called Daisy and Gracie.

Two worthy companions stand guard over the young lad

With the treasure advising him, the two went asearching. They would face fierce competition in fellow quest seekers. There would be hidden traps of homes that held dangers within. And some houses had been enchanted by magic to hide what they really were. Like a dream that starts beautiful but ends up a nightmare. They had to see past the spell of seeing brick to discern if the houses were really made of straw.

Dragons would come against them in the form of paper work. They would spew fire called “deadlines.” And the lad and his treasure would have to answer all kinds of questions to show themselves worthy.

Great wisdom would be needed to cross the valley of a thousand decisions. Great courage will be called upon to climb the mountain of no regrets. And great strength will be needed to face the task of domicile preparation.

Much would be sacrificed on this quest.

And then they found it, with the help of a road gnome called Damian. A castle to call their own. A palace for the young lad, his treasure, and their companions. In the state of just one star, on the boundary of the fort for the worthy, is their place they call …

Home

A young lad and his treasure find their home

But this young man can’t rest too long. For he has two more challenges to face. What will they be?

I love fairy tales.

People Need People

He called me and was a bit frazzled. I was out of my depth in trying to help him. And it seemed no matter what I said to calm him down, it wasn’t really what he needed. Am I a failure? Is he expecting something I just can’t give him? Where do we go from here?

That frazzled look

I am referring to my son calling me yesterday. His truck, which is really my truck according to the DMV, had an engine light come on. Now I do have experience in engine lights coming on; but what to do to make them go off, that is out of my league. However, I did know a little for I had the same issue with the truck before he took it, Oops, I mean before I gave him the newer one over the oldest one he was driving (now I am driving the oldest one.)

2016 – From our breakdown in Moab, Utah – clueless!

So I gave him my take … a power coil to the thingamajig – any one of 6, or was it 4 – and since the light is not blinking, it will be okay to drive. Just get it to a mechanic to check out.

Here’s the fun. The shop said 3000 – ouch. It may be worth about 3000 total. He called back. Concerned. Catalytic converter plus a mani pedi … may be a manifold somethingorother … plus a few other items. I made calls to my guys who do know what all this means – still didn’t comfort him.

2016 – My son, waiting by our Jeep in Moab Utah – I miss that Jeep

Then he remembered he has a friend who knows what all this means – they got together – he did his once over – and basically told him the estimate was posh (my words, trying to be kind to the shop). I could go on about this, but let’s not make this story too long.

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We have problems – and we all do. We call people we trust, but that doesn’t always mean they know how to fix our problems. We take it to professionals – and sometimes they want to fix everything at once and it makes life overwhelming (like suggesting a total house makeover when all you have is a light switch not working.)

It’s great to have someone right there, someone who has certain skills, and someone who can help. This friend came through. We need those in our lives …

  • People who are present
  • People who are skilled
  • People who are kind
  • People who take the time to work the problem with you

I could not be these for my son during this crisis. I could be a listener, an advisor, and a concerned parent/friend – but not a fixer.

Acts 2 talks about the early church where everyone gave as others had needs. I saw this in action yesterday. I don’t think Acts is about throwing money at a need – I do think it is about giving of ourselves in times of need.

Picture from a great article from positive.news – some great suggestions on helping each other
  • Do you know someone alone during shut down? Reach out. Call. Mail a letter (yes mail, God Still uses the USPS)
  • A family facing health issues? Leave a care package at the door
  • Know a family out of work? Cook a meal, give a gift card to some food establishments, or even a grocery store. Reach out to your church for more resources to help.
  • Know a college kid stuck away from home? Schedule a Zoom blast for them – surprise them with an Amazon gift card – make them cookies.
  • Know a small business owner struggling? Support with purchases or vouchers as gifts for others. Write positive reviews on FB, Twitter, IG, etc.
  • Know parents overwhelmed with kids at home? Okay, not sure what to do here but pray – out of my skill set again. Maybe call a children’s minister for suggestions. I did make a funny video for kids to laugh at their pastor – but that distraction maybe helped for 90 seconds – I don’t know what to do for the rest of your day.
  • Know a person stressed out trying to help his mother? Send cookies (that one is for me – send cookies)

So to the guy who was there for my son, you are a blessing to him – and me. I pray God pours out blessings in return. You lived out Acts 2 yesterday.

And readers, where can you live it out? Where can you be that type of person for someone in your life, even if all done virtually? Let’s be the Acts 2 type of people. The world needs more of it.

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For a great article on ways to help on our communities, go here.

Somedays, Life is More of a Crawl than a Walk

This week is gearing up to be all about lessons learned while hiking. Not all these lessons came easy.

One of the toughest (most physically stressful hikes) I ever did was along a very popular trail – the Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon. The trail itself wasn’t too difficult. I’ve done more difficult. But my body just wasn’t up to it. My son and I were on a long road trip, all in 10 days. Rocky Mountain national park, Yellowstone, San Fran, San Andreas fault, LA, Yosemite, Vegas, and more. Even a quick stop at Disney Land. The GC was on the last leg.

Now my son is a great adventurous soul, but a lousy driving partner. He says he’ll help drive, but what he means is he is going to go to sleep while I drive. So here we are, facing a 14 mile down and up, and I’m exhausted early on.

A well traveled trail, amazing views, easy start (down after all), and so much made this worth it. But the trip up, yowzah. The last three miles was like walking with lead feet. I was being passed by a Latino grandmother with her 6 year old. The park ranger stayed close for awhile, I think they thought I was going to pass out and make them have to carry me out.

So, I hydrated. I moved slowly, oh so slowly, and I kept progressing … literally inches by inches. And I made it up. Not pretty, not textbook, but with a little daylight to spare. Maybe I made it just to spite my son and let him know this old man could tough it out- especially since he couldn’t tough it out as a drive partner.

Life is tough at times. People passing you by, difficult journeys and circumstances, progress seems almost negligible, and you are weary, oh so weary. You want to stop, find a resting spot and just collapse.

I learned a lot that day – and not just tips for the trail, but tips for life. If you keep moving, going slow even, but keep moving, then progress is being made. I learned I am capable of more than I imagined. I learned the power of motivation from others. And I learned that accomplishments earned through grit, hard work, and pain can often be the more rewarding ones.

This Covid19 lockdown has made life come to a crawl. Plans thrown out, isolation, uncertainty, stress. But we cant give up. We may need to rethink how we do things but we just can’t surrender.

So don’t give up. Keep moving forward. Encourage those around you that seem to be struggling (your words may make the difference in their journey).

Heroes … here is a big THANK YOU

Heroes. We all have them. And as we grow older, the heroes may change. As a kid, I remember the Apollo astronauts. The bravery. The patriotic aspect of standing for America. And Buzz was such a cool name.

As I got older, maybe not too much older, it turned to comic book heroes – Superman, Batman, Spiderman. I mean, who wouldn’t want super powers. But I kind of always turned back to space – Captain Kirk. To boldly go …

Then college – where it was certain professors who seemed so brilliant and having it all together (having taught college since then, I can say they may be brilliant, but very few have it all together.)

I kind of stuck with the Academic realm since then – favorite scholars, brilliant theologians, insightful minds that spent their lives researching and sharing their knowledge with young minds. John Sailhammer and others.

But the kid in me still wants to go to space – the first chaplain on Mars.

Now the older I get the more I see heroes are not those that do amazing things in a short period of their lives, but the ones who stick through it no matter what life throws at them.

  • The husband who for years sits by his wife’s bed as she struggles with Alzheimer’s (Doug B)
  • The pastors who serves faithfully at smaller churches, knowing fame and recognition rarely come their way (Bob B)
  • The parent who raises a special needs child and cares for them through adulthood.
  • And nurses, first responders, nursing home personnel who are the front line of a war like we are in (all those with my mother)
  • A son who desired to stay pure till and in marriage in a world that pushes the other way (Calvin)
  • And a woman who would take my only son knowing what she knows about him and his family. Nobody in their right mind would marry into a preacher’s family, yet she did and they love each other so (Tiffany)
  • And a wife who sticks by me even in my childish stupidity (Lisa)

These are my heroes. These are the ones I applaud and smile when I see them. Not football superstars, not Hollywood celebrities, and not any politician. They may be great people, but heroes – that is a special place in my heart. And in all we are going through, I say thank you.

Today, maybe you too can say thank you to your hero. This blog is my way of saying thank you.

__________

Okay, maybe I still want to go to space and admire those who do. Maybe I could be a Jedi.

Special Addition …

Somewhere in the world out there

Once up a time, in a land far, far away … in a land of amazement and wonder … there was woman in great pain. It was a pain that also brings joy. I don’t know how long the pain lasted, but in the end it brought a gift, a blessing, a joy for the world to behold. This pain gave way to a direct manifestation of God. It was girl. But not just any girl. This girl would end up changing my life forever.

This gift grew in grace and splendor. I didn’t know this gift. She was never on my radar. That would happen 26 years later. That one day, she entered into my son’s circle of influence.

My son … now that’s a long story with some great plot twists and an amazing story line … my son had entered an establishment of music and of bodily gyrations. And across the room, this gift, this now beautiful young woman, walked across the wooden dance floor. She walked up to my socially clumsy, yet kind and sensitive young man … she asked him to dance. Before the night was over, they danced. And they still are dancing.

Last month, on a FaceTime call with my son … she yelled across the room, “Hey dad!” Never before had I heard that from one I could call my daughter. I felt a warmth, a sense of pride, a love unlike I’ve experienced.

Tiffany = “manifestation of God”

The two who brought her into the world deserve praise. They have two daughters, and now two sons brought by nuptial vows. But this one, this manifestation of God, this “Tiffany”, is now in my circle of what I call family.

Today is her birthday, I don’t know how to say thank you enough. I don’t know how to express my love … but I do want you to know I have known you ever since my son was born. We have prayed for you even before you were born. You are the answer to that prayer. For I used to say somewhere in the world out there is one I don’t even know her name but loved her just the same. But today, I know her name.

Her name is Tiffany. And she is my daughter (in law).

Happy Birthday

He Needs to Know

29 years ago, he came into our world. He was an answer to prayer and a gift from God. My wife and I lost our first child. Well, not lost. We know where he/she is and we will see him/her there one day. So, the day our son popped out was a day we will always celebrate. And on the day I write this, the date of that event is tomorrow.

He is a GIFT … every life is precious and from above. But this life, this young boy, was for us. We have been given the pleasure, the pain at times, and the joy to call him our son. As a gift, we treasure him but we know we can not keep him. Now we also know he was made to be a gift for a beautiful young woman as well. And as a gift, we should always be grateful to the Giver.

He doesn’t belong to us, He belongs to GOD … from the earliest of his life, we gave him back to God. We dedicated him to God and committed ourselves to raise him in the Lord’s ways. Probably even more than the day he was born was our excitement on the day he believed in Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Our son will not live just 60, 70, or even 80 years – he will live for eternity. And we know it will be with God. That is worth getting excited about.

He is a WARRIOR in the King of King’s Service … not a professional soldier but a warrior who fights to honor God in his life, a warrior who fights to keep his family Christ-centered and to protect his wife, and a warrior who carries the name of Christ wherever he goes.

He needs to know … I believe in him, I am proud of him, I will love him – no matter what.

The Giant Killer

On this celebration of 29 years, I am giving him a necklace. A custom made silver necklace that contains a rock. Yep, a rock. Ain’t I the loving father. But this is no ordinary sliver of a rock. It is from the brook in the valley of Elah. This is the same brook that many believe David ventured to select five stones – one of which struck Goliath with that mortal blow. May it be a reminder that He needs God’s strength, God’s armor, God’s provisions, and mostly, he needs God.

Son – I believe in you, I am proud of you, I will love you – no matter what.

Happy Birthday.