Love this! #liveagreatstorynow http://ow.ly/i/TGOA
There are typically 4 different bullying behaviors. Physical & Verbal aggression, Social alienation and Intimidation. #choosekindness
I’m trying very hard to stop.
It’s amazing when you really pay start paying attention to the little things, how much you notice you take for granted.
The picture in this post is my son Zach searching through an ice cream freezer section at Walmart. Most of us could buy anything from that section and enjoy it. He can’t.
Because of his PKU, there might be 3 things in that entire isle he could have. I take it for granted all the time that I can walk into a grocery store an buy virtually anything I want.
Zach can’t. And, actually, two of my kids have PKU. Madison has it as well. In most grocery stores, outside of fruits and vegetables, there isn’t too much they can eat. We have to buy them special low protein food from a few online stores and the cost is astronomical. A few times a year, we travel to Chicago as a family and when we’re there we always stop at Lil’s Dietary. It’s a special grocery store that actually stocks the food they can have. They have an 2 small isles, but it’s amazing how much they love actually taking stuff off the shelf. This is a picture of Zach at Lil’s last year. Man, he’s grown!
Now that Zach’s getting older, it’s really hard watching him learn how to deal with his PKU. He fights feeling of anger and bitterness because he’s virtually always left out. We do the best we can to always have ‘his’ food ready for him, but you would be surprised how hard that is at times.
As a dad, part of me knows that the struggle he’s going through is good. And as a dad, I would do anything I could to take away his PKU.
He’s teaching me a ton about life and not taking it for granted.
Oh, by the way. He was searching for an ice cream product made out of coconut milk. He can a little of that and both he and Madie love it!
What are you taking for granted?
I’m not even sure how to express my gratitude today. My heart is very full and I’m a bit overwhelmed.
Let me back up.
It’s been an unbelievably tough year for my family and I. I had a job transition, we moved again (our 11th in 15 years of marriage, but who’s counting?), our kids are starting a new school, we’ve been a one car family, we’ve had lot’s of car problems and we’ve been under a great amount of financial stress getting the non profit I started off the ground. Throw in some physical stuff and it’s very well rounded.
But, in other ways it’s been one of the richest, most rewarding years we’ve EVER experienced.
God has blessed us with an amazing family. Tracie and I have been married 15 years. Our kids are incredible. We have parents and siblings who love us. We have deep friendships. We have hundreds of people praying for God to bless our non profit and my speaking ministry. We’ve been blessed in ways I couldn’t have even imagined. People have loaned us their cars for trips, we’ve received anonymous donations of PKU food and people have blessed us with financial gifts to help us get through this first year of the start up.
We are a blessed family. I am blessed man. I deserve none of it. I’m a mess and I’m broken. But, God still pursues me, He still loves me, He still uses me.
Today, well, today is a day I will remember for a long time. Our fledging non-profit received a massive gift: A mini-van!
Yeah, you heard that right, a mini-van! How does that happen?
One of the biggest hurdles we’ve had with Live Now has been reliable transportation. I’ve missed a lot of opportunities to travel to meet with schools and churches because of our car situation. Well, it’s unbelievable how God provides.
This GIANT blessing gives me a chance to not have to worry how I will get to speaking engagements or fundraising opportunities. Every trip to date, God has provided someone who let me borrow their vehicle to use and it’s been a huge blessing. But, it’s also provided a bit of stress figuring out who to ask and how to ask and how to pick their car and all that.
My heart is full. It’s overwhelmed. It’s broken. It’s thankful. It’s grateful.
In the words of Bob Goff…”Love Does”
Today, I thought I would write about my rules for relationships.
I believe I am in the relationship business. Actually, I believe every human on planet earth is in the relationship business. We were created to share our lives with each other. Our DNA is hard wired to be connected to other people. I know people who hate other people and try to stay far away. I know people who have been so burned by relationships that they avoid them like the plague. That’s just not the way. If you refuse to forgive those who have hurt you and you continue to seclude yourself from human contact, you’re basically asking for pain to come your way.
Refusal to forgive + seclusion = Pain.
1. Don’t miss a chance to encourage. Too often we get a thought to encourage someone and we let it pass right by. Can’t do that. I try to send hand written cards as much as I can, comment on their facebook page, text them and tell them face to face.
2. Treat their kids like gold. I learned this from my boss at Willow Creek, Scott Rubin. I’ve never had a boss/friend treat my kids as incredible as Scott did. He went way out of his way to care for them. I learned a ton from him. I want to build trust with my friends kids and treat them like gold.
3. Pray for them. Not just in my prayer closet of journal but on the phone and when we’re together. I learned this lesson from my mentor, Kevin Winnigham. Kevin never misses a chance to pray for me! It means the world to me.
4. Make everything better. My friend Robin Perko has taught my family and I this lesson time and time again. She brings so much energy, passion and life to relationships. She goes the extra mile to make everything better for her friends and family.
5. Don’t ask, offer. Too often, we know in our spirit that our friend needs help and it’s too hard for them to ask. Well, just offer. As Bob Goff says…”Love Does“.
6. Be fully present. I had the privilege of working with someone who taught me this at a whole new lever. My friend Leah Gleason taught me and showed me how to let go of the distractions, so I could concentrate on being fully present.
7. Believe the best. Life’s too short to play relationship games and second guess everything. I know I have been hurt many times by relationships, but I’ve learned to just believe the best about people.
8. Remember the details. This is one of my passions in life. I want to remember the tiny details of people’s lives. It starts with learning their names, their kids names, what they do, what they love, their birthday, and their favorites.
9. Don’t disappear when their worlds falling a part. I’ve been through a lot in my short almost 37 years on planet earth. What I’ve learned is that most people disappear when their friends go through tragedy. Be there for them. Send them emails, messages, texts and reminders that they’re loved.
10. Say the hard stuff. Not everybody wants to grow. Not everybody thinks that their friends should help them grow. But, I’ve found, once you build a strong relationship with someone you need to say the hard stuff…to help them, to pull them out of their rut and to love them.
I’m probably missing a ton of stuff.
What would you add?
I believe that I have been given a sacred privilege to parent them and raise them up in the ways of God. If I never “succeed” at anything else, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I take advantage of the time I have now and I use it wisely to help my kids in every way that I can.
My kids are starting a new school. You would think we were a military family with how many times my kids had to start at a new school. It’s something that weighs heavily on my heart and it’s a huge regret of mine as a dad. But, I’ve also met people who were moved much more than our family and their kids turned out great, so we’ll see.
Because they’re starting a new school, we’ve been talking to them a lot about this school year. I want to do everything that I can to prepare them and help them think through it.
Ways we’re trying to Help my kids have a great Start to the School Year
1. We’re preparing. We’re going over the details a lot. Because it’s a new school, we’re spending a great amount of time talking the details through.
2. We’re talking. And…we’re talking some more. We are talking about the start and the school year a lot. We’re being very INTENTIONAL. We’re talking about what the first morning will be like. What’s the first thing we’ll do when we wake up. What it will be like when we walk up the first time.
3. We’re encouraging. Everyday, as many times as we possibly can! We’re giving them reminders that they’re going to meet new friends and they’re teachers are going to be great.
4. We’re praying. A ton. A lot. All the time. We are actually going to take our kids to their new schools and pray with them outside their schools and ask for God’s blessings.
BECAUSE…I am not as concerned with them getting straight A’s as I am about them being witnesses and representing Christ. I’m praying that God gives them courage to be school changers. That they will represent Christ and be Kind, and Respectful. That teachers and students will notice the difference in them.
And…that they will stand up for those being mistreated and will love those doing the mistreating!
5. We’re introducing. Every chance I get, I’m trying to find other kids their age to introduce them too.
I’m praying for a great start, but not only a great start, but a great school year!
What are some other ways that I can help my kids have a great start?