Parenting

A dad, a son and a grandson…One of my favorite moments ever at Thrive

Yesterday was an awesome day. IMG_3302

There was a moment at Thrive that was very special.

I asked my 12 year son, Bobby, and my dad, Bob, to come up and each pray for the Christmas Offering. 

I can’t even begin to tell you the joy I have about serving together in ministry with my family.

My wife loves our Church. My 14, 12, 10 and 6 year old love our church. My parents love our church.

Now, my kids may not always love it. I know that is a very real reality.

But, for the time being, I love my that family serves together at Thrive Church.

My dad is one of our humblest volunteers. You will never hear him complain. His body aches, his back hurts, he knees are bad. And yet, he’s at the church every Sunday morning at 7am to unload and set up church.

One of the things that I will never take for granted is that my childhood was rooted in God. I am so thankful that my parents talked about God, studied God, taught me to pray, taught me to serve and now do the same with their grand kids.

It’s just awesome.

And, to know that my kids get to witness their grand parents help build our church together, yeah, that’s just an honor.

A dream a long time ago

When Bobby was born, it was awesome. To be able to introduce Bobby Raitz to Bob Raitz was a life highlight! Well, not long after that, one of the ladies at our church told me she had a dream about my family.

Honestly, I was a bit skeptical. She told me in her dream she saw my dad teaching dozens of kids. Ok, that part made sense because my dad was my youth pastor. She went on to tell me that saw me teaching hundreds. Ok, again that part made sense. I was a youth pastor and I had been traveling and teaching at camps and retreats.

Then she said…she saw my son teaching thousands.

Wow. I still don’t know what to think about it. But, I will tell you this. I will support whatever path of life any of my kids feels is the one God is calling them too.

But, if God calls them to ministry, man, that would be awesome!

So proud to be Bob Raitz’s son and so proud to be Bobby Raitz’s dad.

A little bit of Saturday randomness and ramblings…

A little bit of randomness and ramblings…

1. It kind of makes me sad when people unlike Thrive Church’s Facebook page. Probably shouldn’t. Don’t know why it does. But, really, who does that?

2. Somebody asked me today why I take a prayer walk around Celebration Cinema every week. Because I’ve read Circle Maker a dozen times. If you haven’t read it, buy this book and get ready!circle

3. Someone just messaged me and told me that for the first time in their life they are excited to be a part of a Church.

Yeah, that’s amazing and so humbling!

4. One of my favorite things to do is go to the movies. I just realized that I haven’t been to a movie in months and months. That’s a first.

5. I really can’t wait for tomorrow! I love Sunday!

Ok, there is your Saturday’s dose of randomness and ramblings!

 

What I want for Christmas…Low Protein food for Zach & Madie

In the last week, a few people have asked me what I wanted for Christmas. IMG_1651

That’s really an easy question. I personally don’t need anything. I personally don’t want anything. Ok, that’s not true. But, there’s nothing I really need.

I would like Santa to bring Low Protein food for Zach and Madie to the Raitz house this year. 

That’s it. Easy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a little background.

Two of our 4 kids have Classic PKU. If you haven’t ever heard of it, check out the video below. The mom in this video is great and nails what its like to have PKU and what PKU is all about.

In this video, the mom talks about the costly food for PKU’ers. That’s really one of the toughest parts of having two kids with PKU. Low Protein food is ridiculously expensive. And, for some reason, the government hasn’t mandated insurance companies to reimburse the cost of this special food. It’s actually really frustrating, but that will be another post.

BUT…we are so blessed to live in a state that provides medical formula for our kids. Someday we will have to start paying a portion, but right now its free. A HUGE BLESSING. Why? Because they need that formula to be healthy! And, it’s crazy expensive!

Back to the food. You and I pay what for a loaf of bread? 2 bucks? 3 bucks? Low Protein bread costs $12.99 a loaf and you have to have it cold shipped which is a little bit of cost as well. We could spend $500 and get 20 or so items and those wouldn’t last too long. Especially with a son about to head into the pre teen years.

So, that’s what I want.

I know, it’s selfish, but I was asked!! Hahah

What do you say Santa, can you bring Zach and Madie some of their favorite Low Protein foods?

 

A morning with my Zach

A typical Saturday morning for me goes like this…I get up around 6am, I head to Celebration Cinemas in Mt Pleasant and I takeIMG_3194 a prayer walk around the theater.

Then, I head to the office and I finish preparing for Sunday at Thrive. I’m there as long as it takes me and then I head home and hang with my family!

Well, last Friday night we had our staff Christmas party and we got home pretty late. Needless to say, it was an amazing night of laugher and fun!

I forgot my phone in the van. That meant that I didn’t sent an alarm. Well, I slept in till 7:50am! I can’t remember the last time that happened!

As I was getting ready, Zach said ‘Dad, can I go to work with you?’ I went to say no, and then thought, why am I saying no? I explained that he would have to hang out in my mom’s office on the computer and he loved it!

We went to the theater and we did the prayer walk together. I told him to put on some worship music and IMG_3198talk to God. I did the same thing. It was awesome!

On our drive to the office, we talked about a ton of stuff.

It was the coolest time ever! 

We talked about school. Who his best friends are? Why are they his best friends? We talked about his PKU and how he’s doing with that.

Then, we talked about Church. Gosh, this kid loves our Church and of course I love that.

Here’s what amazing…I almost missed it! 

It’s not all the time I can bring my kids to work and still get done what I need too, but last Saturday was a day that I could and my first reaction was to say no.

I’m so glad I took a moment and rethought that.

I know the older my kids get, I’m gonna have fewer and fewer of these moments and I have to take advantage of single one now.

I loved my morning my Zach and I looked forward to many more!

It’s PKU Awareness Day

Our lives changed drastically on June 11, 2004. I still remember it like it was yesterday.

I was sitting in my office and a phone number I didn’t recognize called me. That same number had called me earlier a few times, but I was in meetings and I didn’t recognize it, so I didn’t answer. I finally answered and a nurse started to explain that my wife and I needed to bring our 2 day old baby boy to Ann Arbor to the U of M hospital immediately.

I was super confused. Zach wasn’t even born there. She began to tell me that my son had tested positive for a rare genetic disorder called PKU and there was a clinic at U of M for families with PKU.

I had never heard of PKU. Of course instead of listening to her, I immediately started to google PKU and as I started to read, my stomach began to drop. That’s what happens when you don’t listen to the professional on the other end of the phone and you frantically start googling things.

I hung up and agreed that we would bring in Zach immediately. I sat back in my chair and literally felt all the air go out of my lungs.

I called my wife and started to explain to her what was going on and at the exact moment I called she was feeding him a bottle and had to stop immediately because the bottle was filled with way too much PHE. A term that has now resided in my family for 10 years and dictates the diets of both Zach and Madie.

The waiting room was packed that day but all I remember is being rushed back to talk to a team of people that were waiting for us. They began to explain that Zach had PKU and then they started to explain this new life that we were about to start.

Now, Zach was our third. Bekah and Bobby paved the way and by number 3 you pretty much have some things figured out. Everything was different!

For starters, we were told that everything Zach ate had to be weighed, measured and tracked. That’s when a gram scale became king in our house. Then we found out that Zach would be on a medical formula for life. They showed us how to measure and track his formula and eating. They told us about the blood tests.

Then the hammer dropped. They told us he would never be able to eat foods high in protein. Foods like…chicken, steak, burger, ice cream, pasta, bread, milk, cheese, rice, beans. For someone who loves food, my head was spinning.

Finally they told us that he would be on this special diet for life. There wasn’t a cure, but by staying on diet, he would be healthy.Yes, such a HUGE blessing!

But, if he went off diet, the acid in the protein would attack his central nervous system. And when that happens, nothing good comes from it.

I feel like Tracie and I took turns holding him and each other that night and we just wouldn’t let him go.

Fast forward to 2014. We have two amazing kids with PKU. Honestly, I would do anything for them not to have PKU. Not to have to worry about their blood levels and their PHE and the amazingly expensive food and the fact that insurance companies aren’t mandated to reimburse families for the crazy high price of their food. IMG_1771

But, they are both doing great! We’ve had some struggles. The kids are amazing and it’s just a part of our lives now.

I do pray everyday for a cure. I pray everyday that God would use this to build their identity. I pray everyday for help with the ridiculous costs of their food.

Today is national PKU awareness day and I wanted you to know about our journey and story. IMG_1766

 

4 Ways to make your daddy/daughter dates great

Yesterday I posted a bunch of reasons to take your daughters on daddy/daughter dates.

Today, I thought I would give 4 super easy ways to make your daddy/daughter dates great!

4 Ways

1. Put the date on the calendar and let nothing else trump it.

NOTHING!

2. Spend a few days asking your daughter what she wants to do on your date.

Give her ideas, but let her dream. If she’s old enough, text back and forth about it.

3. When you’re on your date…Listen, Listen, Listen. In order to do that, you have to ask a crazy amount of questions.

Questions like…

  • What’s your favorite…Band, Singer, Web Page, Food, Bible Verse, Color, Store
  • What friend cares for you the most? What do you do for them?
  • What kind of boy makes you smile?
  • How much do you think Jesus loves you? Why does He loves you?

4. Do whatever she wants.

Don’t say no or not now. And just do it. Ok, don’t rent a private jet and fly to London for her to hang out with One Direction! Do it if you can! But, there are a million ways to make the date special, so…make it special.

Dads…4 Reasons to take your daughters on dates (ok, 10!)

I love my girls.IMG_1612

If you ever visit my Facebook page or hang out with my family, it will probably become very apparent that I love my kids. I have two boys and two girls.

I adore all 4 of them. Being a dad is the best!

I’m trying to be very intentional  about taking out each one of my kids. To get one on one time and to pour into them.

Dads…here is a simple list of why to take your daughters on dates. I thought I would write 4, but 10 just popped out.

Reasons to take your daughters on dates 

1.     Their childhood only happens once

2.     Their childhood zips by at the speed of light

3.     Their childhood is the only one they have

4.     Their childhood builds a foundation for what kind of husband they are going to look for IMG_1583

5.     They need your one on one attention

6.     They need your hugs

7.     They need your words of affirmation

8.     They need those memories of when you put them first above everything else

9.     They need you to listen

10.   They need to hear your stories

Dads, take your daughters out on dates. Trust me, it will deepen your relationship with them in ways you never would have imagined!