Our house is vandalized every time we go out of town and it was defaced once again this week when we returned from vacation. The vandal is Katie King. Each time we leave, Katie watches our dog and housesits. As we go out the door, I always tell her in my most sarcastic tones to be sure to clean up the mess if she has a party so we don’t find out about it. Once, she actually placed an empty beer keg in the bathtubfor our return. This time, she defaced our living room by hanging a poster of herself above our mantle so we “would never forget her.” (She’s moving away to go to school this August.)
We met Katie 6yrs ago when we moved to Lake Jackson. She was one of the youth at the church, but since those first few months, she’s truly become part of our family. The hoodlum terrorizes our house by maliciously spray painting laughter on our walls & kidknapping our hearts. She’s always a ton of fun and has truly been a blessing for our family. She loves our kids and they love her. One of Kasen’s first words was, “Tay Day” (Katie) and Kesleigh loves to fall asleep in her arms. She has spent countless hours watching our kids so Miranda and I can get other things done. When we need someone to pick up the mail or feed Peanut, our dog, Katie is always ready to help. She’s got a real servant’s heart. I honestly don’t know what life would be like without her. We are excited for her to begin her new life in August, but we’re going to miss her. We’ll miss her laughter, her help, her smile, and even her vandalism. Truth is: The world could use a few more vandals like Katie.
It was an intimate moment. Miranda cupped her hand and leaned in to the ear of our 2yr old son, Kasen. She spoke gently, “Kasen, I have a secret.” He watched her intently. Drawing it out and emphasizing each word, she said, “I. . . love. . . you!” Kasen pushed in close to her saying, “Mommy, I have a secret.” Miranda anticipated the approaching moment and heightened her sense of awareness. She wanted to remember every detail of this one. With the same slow emphasizing pace, Kasen said, “I. . .want. . .candy!”
Ha! Ha! I think it’s hilarious and just had to share it with everyone.
Last night Miranda and I took the kids to a traveling circus. It wasn’t really something we planned, but we heard about it (and heard it was cheap) and decided we’d check it out. It was great! We got to sit about 10 feet from the center ring. The elephants walked between us and the ring. Kasen and I also rode an elephant. Miranda says I looked really out of place. That’s OK – I’m amazed at the things I find myself doing for my children. Thought I’d put up a few pics. (Not sure how it happened, but we didn’t get even one picture with Miranda and Kesleigh.)
While we were in Dallas last weekend, we got to see one of Miranda’s old friends, Heather Zempel. She and Heather grew up spending Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays playing football in the backyard of “Gran’s” house. (Miranda’s grandmother) Since those days, Heather has become a discipleship pastor and small group guru at National Community Church in DC. She’s written a small group curriculum (called Sacred Roads) which has been published all over the country and she has become a sought after speaker for events where small group folks come together.
Anyway, we got to hang out with her a bit and she treated us to a meal at Saltgrass. (Thanks Heather and by the way, you’ve got that “ticket grabbing” move perfected – it was very quick, fluid, and precise – impressive.) We not only shared a meal together, but our lives as well. She told us about her husband, niece, & ministry and asked lots of questions about our situation. I’m always amazed at the way that God is able to stitch people together. Unlike Miranda, I haven’t exactly had a lot of time (or history) with Heather, and yet, because of our connection in Christ, it felt like I was just reconnecting with an old friend. (Of course hearing all their old stories probably helped that image too.) Heather is one of those people who is easy to know. She has a contagious exuberance and an easy laugh that make her a ton of fun to hang out with. When you combine that personality with her love for God and people. . .well, I just enjoyed getting to know her and feel like it’s a privilege to call her my friend.
Prayer: Lord I ask You to lead Heather. As she continues this new era of ministry where she is bouncing from one city to the next and teaching others, I ask for you to protect her. Keep her grounded and allow her plenty of time to nurture the deep relationships in her life – the important relationships. Allow her to remain connected to You and to NCC folks in such a way that she can venture off into these other places with a lot of overflow. Allow her to do ministry in Your strength, with Your blessing, in Your power, under Your guidance. Give her wisdom to choose which opportunities to take part in and help her to discern when to say “No” in order to stay healthy. Lord continue to use her for Your glory. AMEN.
Lift Off!! U2 took us off the planet for a couple of hours last night. They called the stage “our space station” and at one point in the show the rocket launched. Away from the cares and worries of this world and into the skies soaring into a beautiful cloud of song.
I had to update my Bucket List today in order to account for the awesome night that Miranda and I had last night. We saw U2 for their 360tour. Miranda bought tickets back in April (before we knew we’d lose my job.) as our birthday gift to each other. Quite possibly the best concert I’ve ever seen. It was a great night of awesome music from some of the greatest musicians the world has ever known. They put on a great show. Every time you think you’ve seen it all, they’ve got a new trick up their sleeves and Bono does a phenomenal job of interacting with the crowd. He seems to really care about his audience. The Christian messages that are sprinkled into their lyrics were also very encouraging for Miranda and I during this time in our lives. Some of our favorite songs from the night were:
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
City of Blinding Lights
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Where The Streets Have No Name
With or Without You
I was going through some old stuff the other day and found a vhs (remember those things?) with a video we made for a Senior banquet in 1995. I enjoyed laughing at it all and thought some of you would too so I converted it to dvd and wmv.
I’m almost embarrassed to put these up ’cause the quality is so poor, but you gotta remember, I’m old. These were all made with 2 vcrs – long before computer editing hit the consumer market. It’s also pretty poor ’cause the tape is so old. Anyway, if you watch them in order here, you can see the whole thing.
Write your comments at the bottom – I’m thinkin’ this could get interesting.
The other night I was reading to Kasen before he went to bed. He chose one of his “song” books and so I started singing. For the first time, he decided to join me and sing along. Miranda captured the moment here. Pretty funny stuff. It was actually kinda hard for me to keep singing ’cause all I wanted to do is laugh. I especially like the way he pauses before his last note.
Miranda asked a simple question. “Where is Kasen?” I didn’t know. We had been home for a few hours from our vacation and were relaxing on the floor of the living room. Kasen had been right there with us just minutes before. We yelled for him. . . No answer or any noises from other parts of the house. We got up and started looking. There are only a couple of places he could be – the living room, the kitchen, his room, our room. (He can’t open doors yet and we keep the rest of them closed.) In a matter of seconds we had searched the whole house – panic was quick to follow. Miranda and I both were yelling his name. I checked behind the closed doors. And then the closets. Fear escalated. I remembered a story of a friend who had climbed in a trunk (Caylin Brashear) and I checked our trunk – then Kasen’s toybox. Miranda was screaming with a voice I had never heard. Shrieks. Her breathing had an unnerving “ohhh. . .” sound. She met me in the hall and screamed, “the pool.” Kasen loves the “poo” – maybe he could be there?.?. but logically, he couldn’t get the back door open. Could someone have come in the house and taken him? Could he have somehow gotten a door open? My mind raced. I was desperate. . .I ran outside slamming my face into the patio door. No. . .he wasn’t in the pool. . . Heart racing, I ran back inside.
Miranda was holding him and yelling to me that she found him. Evidently, he had been laying in his bed the whole time with his covers over his head. We had each been in his room multiple time during those moments. He likes to take Kesleigh’s binky and then run and hide getting his little oral fix ’cause he knows he’s not allowed to have one. Evidently, that’s what he had done and probably fallen asleep. Or maybe he didn’t answer our calls ’cause he was hiding.
Either way, it couldn’t have been more than 3 minutes total. But it was enough. Enough to realize how quickly things can go downhill. Enough to realize how great our love for our children is and how quickly it can turn into fear. This kind of experience changes a man.
As I look back on it I wonder, “Where was my faith during these moments? What happened to trusting in the Lord? Why did I panic so quickly?” I am a weak man. Sinful. Even at my best, I am still very frail. I need God.
Prayer: Lord, take care of my children. You have given them to me for a few years and I truly want to be a good steward. I want to be a great father and a good example. I want to protect them. I want to represent You to them. All of these things are noble thoughts, but the bottom line is that I can’t do any of these things near as well as You. Lord, cover them with Yourself. Protect them when I fail them. Hold them close and keep them safe. Lord, in the same moment that I pray for their protection, I also pray that You will ultimately use them in mighty ways. May they be arrows (Psalm 127) that break into enemy territory taking ground for Your kingdom. May they understand You and the strength they have in You so well that they are willing to follow You into situations that may even seem dangerous to others. May they be in Your hands at all times, with or without me, in every situation – that’s the safest place to be. AMEN.
Last night I woke Miranda and the kids up @ 11pm. I had no idea the power saw could be heard in the back of the house – besides, it was just 2 quick cuts. . .well. . . that was a mistake. Anyway, we’re leaving tomorrow for a trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama for vacation. The Mathews (mostly Patti) love the beach and try to take a trip every year. However, it’s been a few years since we’ve had so many births recently.
We will be in the car with two kids under 2 for at least 8 hours. We are gonna need all the help we can get to keep them from crying (or at least distract them enough so they don’t realize they’re strapped into a car seat for that long.) I decided that there was no need to buy a portable DVD player (mostly ’cause I’m cheap) when we have our laptop, so the quest began. How could I set up the laptop in the car for Kasen to watch movies/tv shows/cartoons from itunes? I already have a converter so I can plug in the computer and the audio link could be run through the Aux input. All I needed was a little tabletop. Here’s where my old Jr High Shop Class ingenuity kicked in. Here’s a pic of what I ended up with. It’ll work this time, but maybe next time I should invest in a headrest monitor.
I even arranged for the shelf to be taken out when not in use.