A Little Encouragement

Encouragement, it’s something we all need, rather we know it or not. It’s not something many feel they need daily but let me say, we all need encouragement. This morning, I did two small devotionals. They dealt with encouragement.

Encouragement comes in all sorts of ways and from all sorts of people. Over time, I have been encouraged by those closest to me, from strangers, from customers and from out of the blue people. I have been encouraged by words, by someone doing something for me without me asking and from someone simply smiling. I am an encourager by nature and there are times I completely forget I also need encouragement. There are also times when I get encouraged by someone and I don’t realize they are encouraging me by their actions.

There are times, like this morning, when I get a text from my oldest daughter about a friend of hers and the struggles her friend is going through. I was encouraged because my daughter and her group of friends are loving on this girl right where she is, not where they want her to go. They are helping her by praying for her and allowing her to vent during this most difficult time. It encourages me because I see my daughter and her friends growing up to do what we hope we have instilled in them to do with those they do life with. They aren’t looking out for anyone but her right now. This is encouraging.

I was encouraged one time when a friend from high school sent me a text that read, give me a call when you get a second, I need to talk to you about something that happened today at school with your son. This is not always the text you want to get but when this friend told me his daughter had witnessed my son reaching out to, listening to and praying for a friend of his at school, I was encouraged. I was so encouraged by his actions that it brought tears to my eyes. Again, our kids encouraging others. I hope I do this same daily!

Another time I was encouraged was by a friend from high school stopping by my office one day. I hadn’t seen or talked to Jeremy in a couple of years. He stopped by, walked in my office and said, “I have no idea why I’m here today but I felt I needed to talk to you.” Jeremy stayed in my office about an hour and we talked about life since the last time we had talked. The last thing he said to me as we hugged was, “Dennis, never forget how to love people, especially your wife and kids. Don’t ever forget how to love them, even when it’s hard.” This happened at a time when things were not great for me and I needed this reminder. Exactly one week later, I got a notification Jeremy was killed in a motorcycle accident. I just sat there and cried. Not only because I lost a friend but that God had sent him to encourage me when I needed it most. Jeremy was a cheerleader in high school and his last act toward me on this earth was cheering me on for the life ahead! What a gift and I thank God for sending him to me that day!

I am encouraged daily by my wife. She may not know it but her smile every morning encourages me to be better than I was the day before. She does so many things for me and our family and keeps me grounded in who I am, not who I think I should be. She loves on me, even when it’s hard to love on me, and she is always there, no matter what. This encourages me to be a better person daily.

You never know who or what will encourage someone today. It may be sending a simple text just to let someone know you are thinking about them. It may be a smile at a stranger or a hug when you know someone needs it. It may be keeping your mouth shut and allowing someone to talk when they need to just get some things out of them. Believe it or not, there is encouragement in listening.

Encouragement comes in big and small doses and at times, it’s the small doses we get or send out daily that encourage us or others the most. It’s making time when there is none for someone. It’s writing something to someone that says you are there. It’s not always easy but it’s something we all must do. I love to encourage others to be their best. I’m not always the best at it but I want to encourage others to be their best. I hope this finds you encouraged and I hope all who read this are stepping out of their comfort zone today to encourage someone. Not for anything in return but to let someone know they are on their heart and mind.

Winds of Change

If you haven’t stepped outside here in AMA today, you may not be aware but it’s pretty windy. Not that it being windy here is really breaking news because it’s always windy here but this wind is a bit different. This is a wind that signals a seasonal change. With each season here in AMA, we get higher than normal winds and it happens pretty often. These winds send out the old weather pattern and make way for the upcoming season. These winds are typically much higher than normal winds and get extremely gusty at times. The winds irritate each of us but they are a necessary evil if we want the season to change.

With this in mind, what kind of winds of change do you have in your life? Starting this year, we had a couple of  major changes in our family. Christy started a new job where she works in an office from 8 – 5. This wind of change really brought a change to us that I for one was not 100% ready for at the time. I have been relying on Christy to do much of the things at the lot I did not take time to do and now, that has changed. With me going into my busy season, I have had to come up with a new normal and after a month, I am finally beginning to settle into this new normal. Christy also did the majority of the things around the house and the rest of us have done our best to help her get things done so we don’t have to spend our time just cleaning when we are all at home.

Another change in our family was E2 moved homes at the ranch. The home she was in needed to add a couple of new girls and there was room in a home with girls more her age so the decided to move her. This move has been a positive move for many reasons and we are hoping it helps E2 really change in a positive manner. She had gotten fairly comfortable and began being the “boss” at her hold home. Being the oldest kid in that house was not good for her or anyone else. When her case worker called to talk to me about moving her, Christy and I both saw this as a very positive thing for E2 and us. We feel she will be held to a higher standard and will have a lot more responsibilities. We also feel she will get some peer correction that she really needs. With these positive things, we have also seen some not so positive changes. I won’t go into them but when there’s sudden change, sometimes anxieties lead to bad decisions! We know it will be fine and we are looking forward to this change. With this wind of change, we have to get to know 4 new house parents, new girls when we are there and a new case worker. We had gotten really comfortable with her current situation so this change kind of hit us a bit as well. We feel we are kind of hitting the restart button on her time there and that’s not always a bad thing. We get a chance to expand our circle at the ranch and see E2 grow more and more with the new help we all have. It also puts more eyes on her all over the ranch now that 8 house parents know her and what makes her tick!

With these winds of change, we are starting a new season. A season that will bring it’s ups and downs but one that I feel will grow each of us closer to God and each other. Christy and I have already noticed our relationship changing. We don’t get as much time together during the day so we have each had to become more intentional in our actions toward each other. It has made both of us become more vulnerable and step out of our comfort zone and help each other in new ways. It has made us take inventory of ourselves and us as a couple and realize, we needed this change to help us grow closer together. Our relationship was strong before but this change has strengthened us and for this, we are thankful. This new season has a reason and we hope God can use us during this season to help others, grow ourselves and help our kids discover more about themselves. We have already started seeing this happen in our kids and it’s beautiful!

Normally, winds of change are not fun. They seem to mess everything up and sometimes rearrange the things we have neatly placed where we feel they belong. Sometimes we need a season of gusty winds to blow out the stagnant air and bring in the fresh air. Sometimes we need the winds of change to blow away our comfort so we can grow. I’m very thankful for these winds of change and I look forward to seeing how the new season grows each of us!!

The Boy

The Boy. Better known as G. Or G-Man. Or Money. Or simply, Garrett. He’s our boy and he’s a really cool kid. G and I have been buds since birth. His arrival into our family was very anticipated and I still remember that first day so well. It was Feb 6 and the Super Bowl had just been played a couple of days before. Our daughter was just over 2 at the time and she was ready for HER GARRETT to get here!! After G was born, I was standing in the nursery with him while they cleaned him and while his momma was resting after her hard work. Our 2 year old girl came up to the window and said, “Is that MY Garrett?” I simply replied, “Yes.”

Their bond began with that simple question. Over the years, E1 and G have grown into great friends. They have their issues like most siblings do but they are buds. They would do anything for the other and G has always looked up to his older sister. She was pretty much his guiding light for his first few years. She mothered him and he always asked for her approval. When he would say something, he would end it with, “Right Elisabeth?” Over time, they have remained close. So close that when G was baptized, he said the most influential person to him getting saved was E1 and he had her baptize him. That was a beautiful moment and one we as parents will never forget. They really are close and it makes us smile when we think about them as siblings.

G has a tender heart. He is one of those people who will do anything for you, no matter who you are. He’s loyal to his family and friends and gets along with most everyone. I’ve said a thousand times, if you have a problem with my son, you are likely the problem. He gives everyone a chance and wants everyone to succeed. His love for others is evident in his daily walk and how he serves at church on the weekends. G is no doubt a lot like his momma in this manner!! Loving, loyal and a beautiful spirit!

G is also stubborn and most of the time has to find out things the hard way. He is very intelligent but doesn’t always see the value is doing all the homework or studying and basically feels if he knows the material, why does he have to continually prove it? This is where he is like his daddy the most. And it frustrates his daddy more than anyone because his daddy knows the value!! He is starting to come around and it will get much better over time. G is also like his daddy in his orneriness. His charm will kill you and then all of the sudden, he says or does something that makes you smile, whether you want to or not. He will do things that will make you want to smack him but it was just so funny, you can’t help but laugh. G’s sarcastic remarks and wittiness just add to him. He’s a fun guy.

Watching G grow up has been fun and I wouldn’t trade one thing about him. Now, 1 day after his 15th birthday, I sit here and think, there’s not a ton of time left before G heads to a new chapter of his life. G has hopes and dreams and we won’t get in his way. We want to support his hopes and dreams. We want him to remain grounded in who he is and his walk with God. We want him to continue praying with and for his friends. We want him to continue growing closer to God and keep his path clear of distractions. We only want the best for you G! Your mother and I love you so much and love that God gave us you to be your heavenly parents. Keep your head grounded, your eyes and heart towards God and continue your journey. Don’t let anyone put a damper on who you are or let anyone tell you your hopes and dreams aren’t reachable. You can do anything you set your mind to and in the end, you will be right where you are supposed to be. You are an amazing young man and we are honored to be your parents!! Keep up the great work on this journey and know we are always here. We love you buddy!!

Mom and Dad