Happy Birthday, Kat!

My favorite little girl on the planet turns three today.

She can drive me up a wall at times, and I’ve had my share of losing my cool, but she knows that she’s daddy’s most prized possession.

We drove two hours north to IKEA yesterday to pick up a kitchen set for her birthday. (In fact, as I write this, I’m sitting on the living room couch, listening to her and her brother waking up in their room. In just a couple of moments, she’s going to totter out here and stumbled upon the kitchen set I have set up for her by our living room windows.)

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She has no idea what’s in the big box I purchased for her, because at IKEA, you never know what you’re really getting.

We’ll be having donuts for breakfast from our favorite bakery down the street. It’s going to be  good morning. But really, it’s been a good three years. A lot of bad things happened last year, and the waters have been rough for quite a while, but my daughter has always been a constant. It’s guaranteed that she’ll laugh if I tickle her in just the right spot, and that she’ll always want me to kiss her goodnight even if we’ve had a bad day.

She loves the things I obsess over (chips and salsa, ice cream, Toy Story), and her dancing always makes me laugh, even if life seems too much at times.

I never really knew what it was like to be proud until we brought her home from the hospital, and now I get to experience that feeling every day as I watch her grow, learn, speak, and sing, and discover who she is a little more each day.

I can hear her brother trying to coax her out of their room. I better get the light on…

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A Cause to Pause and Reflect

Blue_candles_on_birthday_cakeThree decades.

I’ve been driving for almost half my life.

photo-4I’ve lived through two spaceflight accidents, been to three funerals, lived in four states, witnessed five presidents, owned six dogs, and I’ve seen the clocks change 60 times.

I’ll probably never again be the best man at a wedding as all of my friends are married with kids.

“Happy Birthday” has been sung to me thirty times, and thirty times I’ve woken up to the Christmas lights glowing bright in the living room on a cold winter morning.

To many this won’t seem like that big of a deal. I still look at people and think, I’ll photo-11never be that old, the way a ten-year-old might look at me and likewise muse.

Twenty-eight and twenty-nine weren’t as earth-rattling. But when your roaring twenties come to a definite close and a new decade unfolds, it gives you reason to stop and think.

If I were a clock, the long hand would be half-way through the face.

Immortality is a tough pill to swallow, isn’t it?

photo-9Leading up to my personal new year yesterday with my best friend and wife, I’ve had a lot to reflect on. Regrets have caused me to cry in the last week. Achievements came up short, as nearly all of them could be approved upon.

By this point I was hoping to have had a child, to be more mature, wise, and spiritual, and, let’s be honest, to be a best-selling author.

William Wilberforce wept over his missed opportunities in his early twenties, and spent the rest of his life vigorously making up for his youthful carelessness.

Charles Dickens was a rising star by the time he was twenty-eight. photo-8

Jesus began His official ministry at my age, and He was murdered three years later.

But when it all comes down to it, yesterday’s milestone meant very little. It defined nothing, except that I am very fortunate to be married to the love of my life, and that I still unashamedly ask for animated movies (Monsters University) and children’s books (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) for presents. (Walt Disney said, “Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”)

Yesterday’s birthday didn’t reveal whether I would die at sixty or even make it to the next Veteran’s Day weekend.

My birthday, like all twenty-nine before it, promised nothing.

photo-7But like none other before it, it did cause me to pause, and reflect. And upon reflection, I’ve recalled things that I’ve lost, regrets I carry like weights, and unpeeled old wounds I thought were healed.

But I was also reminded of the path that continues to lay before me. Sarabeth and I are just one insignificant document away from being approved to foster to adopt, I have two books written and one published, and Jesus still sits at the right hand of God beckoning me, daily, to come to Him and receive His counsel, His blessings, His discipline, and the rest of the days He freely offers to me as the greatest gift short of salvation I could ever receive.

May I live them well.

And when the spring of my life has frozen over with the icy winters of old age, and I ask  photo-10Sarabeth to tell me I’ve lived a good life, like the elderly Private Ryan does at Captain Miller’s tombstone, may she affirm that I’ve been a good man.

And in my first breath of Eternal fragrance wafting through the great halls of our Lord’s Kingdom, whenever that may be, may I hear the words echo against the golden pillars: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You may enter fully into my Presence…”

Puppies!

I thought it would be a fun Friday treat to give you guys a look into our home life. In this post you’ll find a link to the blog Sarabeth maintains about the three dogs we have living with us in our  loft. The purpose for her blog is so that her sister and brother-in-law can check in on their babies every now and then.

Last summer they moved across the Atlantic ocean to carry out missions work for our Lord. (For a little more on missions, read here.) They own two dachshunds, Roxy and Sydney, but they couldn’t take them along because they heard that the people group was hostile against dogs. So they left them in our care. Our dog Pixie was glad to have new roommates to play with (especially Sydney), and so this has been our life for the last ten months.

Enjoy. And please tell my wife what a wonderful blog she has: The Dachshunds

(Also, please don’t judge us for the poor quality photos. We’re trying to save up for a better camera to post better pictures for you all.)

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