New Terrain

No matter where you are in life, you can probably say, “Wow! I’ve never been here before. Life has thrown some things at me, but I’ve never felt like this before.” It seems that even in our “normal” everyday lives, there’s still always something new – something different that turns things at a new angle so it all seems new. Consequently, we’re always breaking new ground – walking into uncharted territory. New terrain is normal – it’s what we do, if we’re alive. This means we’ve gotta always be ready for the unexpected and it also means that life is truly an adventure.

During our time at my mom’s house for the hurricane evacuation, I was watching Kasen and learned something about new terrain. Let me explain: He has been walking for about a month, but he’s still working on it. He still stumbles around a bit when there’s an incline or a little step – or if he’s going from concrete to grass, etc. stepping-stones2My mom has a concrete porch in the back of her house with stepping stones in the grass leading to another bricked area with a porch swing. The weather was beautiful while we were there so we spent quite a bit of time outside. Kasen loved the stepping stones, but couldn’t navigate them very well. They were too far apart for him to use them properly, and so he would step into the grass and then up on a stone, then down into the grass again. . . .you get the picture. If I walked all the way out to the swing, he’d just stop and cry for me to pick him up and take him there, but if I went a couple steps ahead of him. . .he’d give it a shot and walk to me. He fell almost every time he went from the stone to the grass, but each time he got up again and would clap for himself and say “Yeah.” (That’s something else he’s learned recently.) Each time I’d join him in the applause and he’d continue. Whenever he made it without falling, he also clapped and I joined him then too. He needed the encouragement either way – besides that, the applause is what made the whole experience fun. As a father, I loved cheering for him when he’d get up after a fall and also when he made the step and kept his balance. I know he loved it too.

I wonder if this hurricane and the new terrain that we’re learning to navigate is similar? Do we have enough people around us who will cheer for us whether we succeed or fall? Are we being the kind of people who will cheer for others either way? As we enter into this new terrain, will we continue to walk – taking one step at a time, or will we be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task? Do we have people in our lives who will go with us through it all without getting too far out ahead? Will we go through it with others?

For that matter – isn’t this the case with anything new in our lives? Isn’t it better when we do it together? When there are people to encourage us and walk through it all with us?

Big Decisions

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had some great time with Kasen, but I’ve been a little concerned with his choice of toys. Maybe I’m just an overly concerned dad, but there are just some things worth being concerned about. Anyway, I decided to do a little test today. I placed quite a few toys in front of him to see what he’d choose.Big_decision01_2

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Ultimately, he made me proud. Who wouldn’t be proud to be the father of a boy like this! Not only did he pick the football, but he actually threw the vacuum cleaner to the ground too. Now that’s my boy! Big_decision_02_2

(Of course, if you read between the lines here, you probably realize that my concerns originally included the vacuum – he likes that thing entirely too much to be a boy of mine. This is not the kind of thing he’s gonna be proud of when he’s a little older. Maybe I shouldn’t be documenting it like this either huh?)

Hurrication

Ike
We have been away from home for the past week. Hurricane Ike was gonna force us out, so we left early last Wednesday, hoping to miss the traffic from the coming mandatory evacuation. We decided to go to Ft Worth to stay with my mom. My immediate family is all there.

It’s a strange thing to drive away from your house and wonder if it will be there when you return. It was great to know we’d see family and be safe with them, but still. . . .there’s just an ominous feeling that overwhelms you. As you laugh and enjoy visiting with each other or participate in the activities of the day, you can’t escape the passing thoughts of the destruction going on in the place you call home. Even the most joyful moments are tinged with a hint of anxiety – maybe it’s a lack of faith, but it’s definitely real. In spite of the forboding feelings, we tried to make the best of it. We even had some friends who called is a “Hurrication” – and they defined it as a vacation forced upon them by a hurricane. Our “hurrication” included a visit with my mom and family, a trip to the park, a trip to the Ft Worth zoo, a visit to Scott Crenshaw’s new church (New River Fellowship), visits with Joe Torrez (my old youth minister), with Leroy Krolczek (Mike and Patti’s best friend), and with Hans Googer (an old youth of mine.)

After our last evacuation, Miranda and I have gotten pretty good at the whole thing. We can drive away and still feel confident that everything that really matters to us most is in the car with us. It’s nice to know that we’re not too overly attached to our stuff.

I don’t want to finish this post with the view that everyone had a “hurrication” like we did. I recognize that there are many in our community, some close friends who have extremely difficult circumstances to return home to. We will be a part of the efforts to clean up and restore our community. As Miranda and I drove through town today and saw the destruction first-hand we felt very blessed to have had so little damage ourselves. I also noticed how many people were sitting out on their porches and in the yards just talking and being neighbors to one another. It’s our prayer that these circumstances will bring out the best in people and God will use it to draw us closer to one another. As the Genesis 50:20 says, it may have been intended for harm, but God intended it for good. Maybe by the end of all the relief efforts, we’ll all consider it a “hurrication.”

Anyway, here are a few pics from our “Hurrication.”Pettin_the_calf

Daddy_feeds_the_bird1.

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With_cousin_jaycee Playing_soccer_with_tanner_2
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39

Whoa! I just turned 39 years old this week. Almost the BIG ONE. . . . but not quite. It gets me thinkin’ a bit.

I have enjoyed 39 summers of swimming and playing in the sun. 39 Spring breaks – some in the waves, and some on the slopes. I have heard the Happy Birthday song at least 39 times. Throughout the years, I have shared 39 birthday dinners with the people I consider my closest friends and family. I have also celebrated 39 of my mom’s birthdays with her – well OK, only 38 if you don’t count that year that she got upset and thought we hadn’t planned anything. I have experienced 39 football seasons – at first sitting in my dad’s lap in front of the TV, and later I got a play a few seasons, and then I cheered for my brother’s team some seasons, and other seasons I was just oblivious to it all. I have opened 39 Christmas stockings with excitement and anticipation. I have heard my mom and dad ask the same question at the Thanksgiving table 39 times – the years I wasn’t at their table, I still heard them asking it. I remember when my dad could beat me at the best video game ever invented (PacMan) and when I collected a whole set of “Empire Strikes Back” cards from the dime store. I was in High School when the shuttle blew up the first time, and I remember when you used to have to “dial” a phone number. I took computer classes in the summer on an Apple 2E and “keyboarding” was not an elective I could take (It was called “typing” back then.) I remember paying less than $1 for a gallon of gas, but it was only 35 cents/gallon on the day I was born. You could buy a house for $28,000 back then and a car for $3,400.

Since 2003, I will also always associate my birthday with another date – Sept 7, Miranda’s birthday. On Sept 7, 2003 I was given the greatest birthday gift of my life – Miranda said “Yes” to my proposal. We were married a few months later on Jan 3, 2004. These last few years with her have been the best years of my life, and this past year, with Kasen too. . . no question – the best.

Of course my birthday also will always be most remembered by the world for the tragedy of Sept 11, 2001 when terrorists attacked the world trade centers. This year, it will also be remembered by many Houstonians as evacuation day for Hurricane Ike.

All of this is a little surreal to think about. It’s strange to think that I’ve been blessed with this much life – the good, the bad, the joy, the pain, the change. . . .yes, the change. All of it is life. And what did I actually do with all of it? Did I truly drink in those great moments, allowing myself to feel the weight of God’s love in the gift of life? How did I spend each of those 39 spring breaks? How much of that time have I wasted? How much has been wasted on selfish living and garbage thinking? If I have 39 more years, will I spend them more wisely? Will I get to the end of life and wonder if my time was spent well? What other events will shape my life?

Prayer:

Lord, I thank You for life. It’s been an amazing life! I feel like it’s only the begining, but I don’t want to miss this opportunity to recognize Your work so far. You have given me so much life – too much to even recognize – certainly more than a sinner like me deserves, I’m so grateful for Your grace, this gift. And especially the gift of Your son, Jesus who has made it possible for me to even speak to You. He was the payment for my adoption into Your family. Thank you. Thank you for Jesus, for my bride, and my boy, and this child to come. Thank you for my family and my in-laws for my friends and for the church. Thank you for the experiences and opportunities You’ve given me and for creating me as I am. Thank you for life – for 39 years and for those to come. AMEN.

Love146

Hey guys, just thought I’d tell you about Love146. We had Rob Morris, the president of the organization, speak at a youth event at my previous church. He was great. He’s the guy who first told the “Hag Story” that some of you have heard me tell. Anyway, here’s the video that explains Love146. It’s an incredible ministry! I would encourage everyone to get involved. Rob tells horrific stories about little girls as young as 8 years old who are sold by sex traffickers. Love146 works on their behalf by getting them out, restoring their value and worth as human beings, and by guiding them to new lives in Christ.

Pregnant!!

Most of you probably already know this, but Miranda is pregnant again!!! Due date is Feb 24th! We’re incredibly excited! We’ve pretty well decided not to find out the sex this time and it’s driving Patti, my mother-in-law, crazy. She wants to start calling the child by name before he/she arrives, but Miranda and I just think it’ll be fun to be surprised. Odds would say it’ll be another boy – I think there are 5 girls out of the last 20 children born to Corns. Anyway, we’re gonna love this baby no matter what and will be happy either way, so. . .yeah, surprises are fun. Oh – No we don’t really have any names picked out yet. We do have a “girl” name that we decided upon when Kasen was born that we could still use, but. . . . I guess only God knows.

Prayer:
Lord, You are the Creator, and I want to put Miranda and this new child in Your hands. As You create this special one just for Miranda and I, help us to remain faithful in praying and doing all we can to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Keep them safe and protect them from harm or illness. Hold us all close and prepare Miranda and I as parents. Give us special wisdom in understanding Kasen’s needs in response to a new baby in the house too. Help our time to be multiplied so that we can be everything You call us to be as parents. Allow us to be drawn closer to You and spend more time in the Scriptures and in prayer ’cause we’re gonna need it. We’re excited to think that You are entrusting us with such an incredible gift and we’ll be looking to Your Spirit to help us. Thank you for Your presence and the confidence it provides for us as we begin this new journey. AMEN!