Life’s Winter


With one word, I scared many of you. With one word, I made you think of cold days, snowy weather and cabin fever. With one word, I may have made your heart stop or at the very least skip a beat.

I know, fatman weather is why each of you probably what you feel I like post will be about but hang with me and let me tell you why I love winter! If I’m being honest, winter hurts at times. The cold wind, the snowy days, the sleet pounding so bad against your face it hurts. Winter hurts at times. But winter is also the time in the natural cycle of life where we should be able to grow the most and we don’t even realize it because at times, winter is just cold and harsh.

Even though winter can hurt, winter doesn’t scare me, it energizes me. Being in the lawn and garden industry for so many years, I fully understand why living in a place where winter actually occurs is part of the natural way of keeping things healthy. During winter, plants either die back to the ground, they fully defoliate or they thrive. I’m not talking about annuals here because they aren’t made to survive all seasons. Plants that are perennials, need winter to get their energy back for next year’s growth and bloom. If they aren’t allowed to do this, then they run the risk of not having the root energy needed for next year’s growth and blooms and eventually, over time, becoming less and less healthy to the point of death. Deciduous trees, ones who drop their leaves in the winter, also need the winter to gain the strength in their root system to thrive next year. While the trees have their fall, insects that survive inside the sap of the trees move up and down with the sap and this is a great time to treat these trees for these boring insects as well. Evergreen plants, they need the winter to put on their growth. They thrive during the cold months and have to have to the cold to have their best chance at survival during the summer. Along with pruning and the natural fall that occurs, winter is also the time where pruning can be done with little to no damage to the plants. During the winter months, people clean out their landscapes and get a chance to clean up their landscapes for a healthier overall landscape. 

Just like plants, our lives need a winter for many reasons. This is the time of the year, especially this year, where winter has been in full force for me personally. I’m pruning bad habits out of my life to make me a healthier overall individual. This winter, I’m attempting to pour into my roots by letting the things I have harbored for too long wither and die. This has been particularly hard but like I said, winter isn’t easy. I’m using this winter to become a better me, not a different me. I hope the work I am doing and will continue to do will show in my every day life, especially to my family. Although change is hard, I’m thankful for the changes this winter has brought about so far in our family. I’m moving forward, no matter what challenges are in front of me. I’m not going to let a cold wind, a snow storm or any other of what winter brings me, tear me or my family down. I will use this winter to make me stronger, therefore, making everyone around me stronger, especially my wife and kids.

You see, winter can be scary. It can be cold and harsh but we can’t truly get a beautiful spring without winter. In order for each of us to bloom the best we can when spring hits and to thrive through the hot summer months, we must face winter. We must embrace it, learn from it and grow in this season. If you’re going through winter right now, know it’s only a season and embrace the challenge because if you’re like me, you’ll be thankful for the beautiful spring changes and the new blooms you produce during the spring. I hope each of you find a little solace this winter and dig a bit in the cold dirt because when we begin to allow the correct pruning to be done and we watch the things of our past that held us back wither away, then we can truly grow!!  


The New Season

It’s August 13, 2018 and it’s 17 days away from a new football season officially kicking off. On the night of August 30, 2018, kickoff officially happens in our house. On that night, our favorite teams, the Amarillo Sandies and the Texas A&M Aggies both kickoff their new seasons and I for one am overly excited! There have been lots of changes to both of these teams as both welcome in new coaching staffs for the upcoming season. I’m sure both of these teams are as excited as their fans to get the new season started. It should be an interesting year for both teams and their fans for sure!

The reason I’m excited is not just for the new coaches. As far back as I can remember, the beginning of a new football season has been important and celebrated. It’s a time when some have left either due to graduation or moving to the next level and the ones who remain have worked all offseason to get ready for the new season. It’s a start over and everyone starts at the same place. The beginning of a new season is certainly exciting but it’s also a bit scary as well. The unknown of each opponent, not knowing if injuries will occur and as with the Sandies and Aggies, learning a whole new process is just hard for the teams. It’s easy for fans to say they are ready for the season because they are not there every day and just get a small glimpse into the team’s progress through listening to the coaches and players during their media times. But in the end, it’s the entire team who has to be ready for the season to be successful. 

As exciting as these new seasons can be, there are sometimes when they are downright hard to get through. As with the Sandies and Aggies, we are starting a new season in our house as well. On August 21, 2018, we start a new season with our family. The current season we’ve been in for the past 5 years is coming to a close. Our family has seen quite a few changes over the past five years and we’ve had to rearrange our game plan very often. Just like any good plan you put in place, once you get going, audibles have to be called. Each time we called an audible, we grew. It was hard but we dealt with each situation the best we could. We grew our family by one member forever and we saw the passing of my dad during this season. I’ve had to learn how to deal with both major life changes in my own way and although it’s been a struggle at times, I know I have grown more than I could have imagined. In this season, we have been able to meet new people who have helped us through prayer, love and support during this season and they have become family to our family. We have thought about giving up and throwing in the towel during this season but we knew we couldn’t do it. We knew this season, like every season, would eventually end and we would start a new season.

In a week, we will be as ready as we can be for our new season. It’s not going to be easy and it was not a season we could have imagined ever entering. This season has not been easy to prepare for because unlike in sports, we don’t get an offseason in life to prepare for the new season. We often don’t know a new season is going to begin but we did know this was coming. This new season was our choice, not a forced changed. It was easy to see we needed a new season but it was gut wrenching to make the decision to jump into this new season. We knew we needed this new season but it was still hard and we’ve done what we can to prepare our minds and hearts for this new season but until it hits us in the face, we really don’t know what to expect.

This new season in our home will be hard in the beginning. Yes, there will be relief to get started with the season but there will be second guessing and wondering every day for a while. Until we see the growth from this new season, I’m sure we will wonder if we’ve made the right decision. We feel today we have made the right decision and we believe God has readied us for this new season but our human side kicks in and that’s when the second guessing begins. As with every new season, I’d like to know how it will end but if I knew, I wouldn’t grow. So I’m thankful for the not knowing, no matter how hard this will be for our family.

This new season will see our youngest leave our home and go to Boys Ranch for now. This is not the result of bad behavior or us not loving her but because we believe Boys Ranch can and will help her get over her past so she can grow into the beautiful woman we know she will be one day! She has the sweetest heart and would do anything for anyone but her past hurts hold her back and won’t allow her to become her best self. We’ve done what we can to help her in our home and now, it’s time for her to join a new team for a season. Our team isn’t equipped as well as her new team will be and they will help her and us. I look forward to meeting her new team and seeing the game plan they put in place to help her grow. I’m excited for her to get to do new things and be provided with things we could never provide her. There will be fishing, horseback riding, working on the ranch and many new things we just can’t provide. There will be learning at their schools and she will be able to play sports there. Although she will have a new team with new coaches, we will still play a huge role in her life. We will still be her mom and dad and our other 2 kids will still be her brother and sister. We will have time with her with her new team. There will be times she gets to call a timeout and come home for a few days. We will be in constant contact with her and her new coaches and their assistants implementing her new game plan and will be able to help call audibles if needed. Her new team is excited for her future and so are we.

Selfishly, we don’t want this new season to happen. She is a HUGE member of our family but we are afraid she won’t be in the future if she doesn’t get the help needed by her new team. Packing her things this week will be surreal and something we never could have imagined was going to happen 5 years ago when we entered that season. As with every new season, there’s hope for this season to be our best. There will be pain because we can’t grow without pain. There will be hurts we all have creep up in us from our past but this season isn’t about the past hurts, it’s about getting over our past hurts and leaving them behind forever so we can all grow. This new season will be very strange for us and honestly, we weren’t expecting something like this at this time in our lives. But this season is here and we are going to face it the best we can and grow.

We thank each of you for your prayers, patience and love shown during this past season. We ask you to pray for each of us during our new season. It won’t be easy but in time, it will get easier and I know each of us will all heal and grow in our own ways and that’s really all we want from this new season.


A Place to Rest

It’s been two months since I last wrote about our house. Due to many things getting in the way, I just didn’t have the time or energy needed to proceed until now. I feel more refreshed than I have in a while and it’s a great feeling! With that said, welcome back to our home.

When I last shared, I wrote about Christy’s living space. It was just off the front entry and today, I will walk you down the hall just off the other side of the entry. Down this hall you will find many pictures of our family. We have pictures of the kids, us and our lives. We have also placed a couple of things given to us to remind us of our family. There are words written on a canvas about adoption. This helps remind us that not only is one of our kids adopted into our family but we are all adopted into God’s family. Adoption is near and dear to our hearts. Not only do we have an adopted child but anyone who steps foot in our home becomes adopted family as well. We love doing life with so many people and are blessed to have been called to adopt so many friends into our family!

As you go down the hall, you will come to four bedrooms and a bathroom. Our rooms are our spaces. The kids are expected to keep their rooms clean, beds made and can’t keep electronics in their rooms. These rooms are however, are them in every sense. They have been decorated with them in mind and with their help. Our oldest has changed her room over the years and has pictures of her life in her room of where she is in life right now. There are pictures of her boyfriend and her, her best friends, her siblings and us. There are usually shoes laying around her bed and this drives her mother crazy! But to me, it’s her way of saying, it’s my space. If that’s the worst thing we have to deal with, then I’m okay with it. Our boy’s room has just been redone and it’s him 100%. It has a vintage dresser in it with a record player on top. He has records in his room and he has a rock wall with a loft. It’s his place where he can just check out from the day’s stresses. Our youngest child’s room is often a mess. Her room is completely like her. There can be a mess, things out of place but then all of the sudden, it can be clean and tidy, just like she can go from being a mess to a doll in a matter of minutes. It’s trying but she’s ours! She has a desk in her room and is still learning how to live in a place of her own. She has come a long way but just like the rest of us, she has a way to go. As you go into our room, it’s not your typical master size in any sense. The room comfortably fits what we need in there. It’s a great place where we can lay our heads at night and that’s all we need. But most importantly, our master represents sacrifice to me. One of the main things on our list when we were looking for a new house was a large master suite with a very large bathroom. We went the total opposite because the rest of this house is perfect for where we as a family are now. We gave up our desires of a large master suite to gain family space and many spaces to entertain any size of party.

The rooms are intended to be a reflection of each of us but also a place to relax and be able to get away from the stresses of life. We don’t allow electronics in the kids rooms at night because we want them to unplug. To not worry about what that notification was and to not to be tempted to do things they aren’t supposed to be doing. We want each room to be comfortable for them and nobody else. They need to feel a peace when the enter the room, which is why we want them to stay clean. The rooms aren’t for others; only for them. It’s their place. It’s the place they will learn to keep in a proper manner so when they do leave our home, they will feel comfortable in knowing how to handle their own place. These rooms have an importance in making our house a home because it’s where we can get refreshed, relax and get out of the stresses of each day!

Next week we will walk back down the hall and into one of our favorites rooms! Have a blessed week!

Her Living Space

As you enter our house and take a few steps into the entry way, you come to a space just off to the right. This has been called many things but honestly, it’s Christy’s living space. The room has 2 doors, 2 chairs, 1 ottoman, a couch, piano and is decorated beautifully. I call this Christy’s space because it essence, it is truly her space.

We purchased the furniture for this room after we moved into this house. The people who had the house before us used this space as a formal dining space. It was very effective in that manner but Christy wanted a place where her and her friends could chill with some wine and enjoy no TV or kids. So, we created this space for her.

The windows in the room face the front yard so there’s a ton of natural light that comes in the room. There is a piano that has been Christy’s since she was a little girl. That piano has moved many times and has become an instrument each of our kids have played over the years. This piano is a perfect fit in this room.

This space in our house is a warm, inviting place where people can be honest. It’s the place where the kids can ask Mom to help with the piano and a place where anyone can just sit, think or read quietly. This place is where the ladies can sit back with a glass of wine and talk about everything that comes to their minds. It’s a place with no TV so unless there’s piano being played, it’s really quiet.

As I look at this room and really ponder it’s importance in making our house a home, I can’t help but think how perfect this room is Christy. It’s brilliantly beautiful and not overly flashy. It has a pure beauty, not one that has to be created. Thanks Christy for all you do for our family! Love you!

Our Entry

As you enter our house, you’ll notice a few things. The entry way to our house isn’t a grand stairway or have vaulted ceilings. It’s a wide entry with three doorways that lead into different areas of our house. The doorway straight ahead leads to what I call the men’s living room. The doorway to the left leads to a hallway that leads to the bedrooms and bathrooms and the one to the right lead to the women’s living room.

As you walk in through the front door, if you look around, you can see who lives in this house. There’s a grouping of pictures on the left wall of our family. I don’t know how many pictures are there but there are quite a few of all of us at different stages in our lives. Directly across from that grouping is a frame that was given to us by someone special to us. It has four pictures in the frame. This frame says, “Having a place to go is home. Having someone to love is family.” That pretty much sums us our feelings about our house and our family.

As you continue down the short entryway, you’ll see a red table just beyond the doorway on the right. This table was bought specifically for this place and it has things on there that rotate depending on the season. I bring up this table not because it has special meaning or is a cool piece of furniture but because what is on the wall just above the table.

Hanging on the wall in this space is perhaps one of the most important and meaningful art piece we have in our home. We didn’t purchase this art. It was drawn for us and given to us by a dear friend. This painting started out as one thing to the artist and ended up being extremely important to us as a family. If you’ve entered our home, you’ve probably noticed it but maybe you’ve never paid attention to it. This piece of art is absolutely beautiful and let me tell you why it’s so important to us.

This was done when we helped lead a college ministry in our home. Not this home but one a little ways back. This was done by one of the leaders in that ministry and at that time, it portrayed our group perfectly. The canvas was imperfect, just like us. There are runs from the paint, just as there were runs of tears down our faces of sadness, growth, happiness and love. There are cracks in the paint because there were cracks in us that needed to be healed. There are circles of all different sizes and a couple of flowers on there. There is a red circle on the painting with three different colored lines going through the circle. To us, the red circle represented our group and the three different colored lines represent the Trinity living in and through each of us.

FullSizeRender(1)This painting may mean nothing to you but to us, it means the world. It means we met people like Colt, Shaina, Nick, Matt, Travis, Lindsey, KT, Shon, Dan, Jessica, Creed, Lauren, Olivia and so many more. It was a time where I was able to minister to a cousin I barely knew but who has become a huge part of our life. It was a time where we all made mistakes but in the end, all was forgiven because we are forgiven. It wasn’t a perfect family all of the time but it was our perfect family. We laughed, cried, ate food and each of these people had a major influence on my kid’s lives. I’m sad we don’t see many of these people any more but every time I look at this painting, I can think about them and know what we had was God inspired and beautiful. This painting is so much more than a painting. It reminds us of God’s Glory!

The entry to our home isn’t as spectacular as many houses I have entered. But what it contains on the walls is more spectacular than many gorgeous entryways. The things on the walls may not mean anything to you but to us, it’s our life, spread out for all to see as you enter. We welcome you here and we say goodbye to you here but remember, all who want to come in and share their life with us are welcome.

Love you all!

The Front – More than Curb Appeal

As you pull up to our house during late spring and throughout the summer and well into the fall, you’ll see a lot going on usually. There’s a high chance the garage door will be open and kids will be playing somewhere. The driveway gets turned from a place to park our cars into a place to play basketball, ride rip sticks, a parking lot for bikes and many other things that has nothing to do with me. There’s also a chance you see a few adults sitting in their lawn chairs enjoying conversation while watching the kids play.

As you walk up the driveway toward the porch, you’ll notice the flowerbeds blooming with all kinds of color. There are red knockout roses that bloom from late spring until the first freeze. They are gorgeous and have grown over the years into very beautiful bushes. There are also yellow day lilies blooming to give us some other color in the front bed. In the beds just off to the left side of the walkway we have the knockout roses along with some ornamental grasses and blue salvia. The dark blue blooms almost get hidden in the foliage when the shade hits but when the sun hits them, you can see the blooms and they are gorgeous!

The yard is generally green and we attempt to keep it a nice height to help keep it healthy and weed free. We try our best to keep the yard looking as good as possible but there are times it’s almost impossible with the amount of traffic the yard gets. At any given time there could be a kick ball game, a baseball game, a football game or tag being played. And many times we have come home to find the neighborhood playing in our yard without our kids. And you know what, that’s okay. Our yard is there to be played on by anyone who wants as long as they are respecting our house!

As you walk on to the front porch, you’ll notice many pots of plants. We really like to have an inviting front porch and the coleus in the urn pots as you come up the walkway perfectly frame in our double front doors. To the left on the porch are 2 rocking chairs for anyone to sit in while they watch kids or simply just want to visit about the day. In far corner are 3 pots we’ve had for many years. They’ve actually been to each of our houses with us. They have survived many moves and are still some of our favorite pots. During the summer, because of how much shade we get in that area, we plant inpatients. They grow all summer and by the end of the fall, they have turned into large bushes and become the focal point of our porch. On the other side of the front doors, we have a bay window that allows our front room the light necessary to make it the perfect place to relax.

The front of our house is meant to be more than curb appeal. It’s meant to be inviting and a place where fun can happen. We want anyone who comes to our house to feel welcome from the second they pull up. With the kids playing out front and the adults talking about their lives, the front of our house is extremely important. It’s the first part of our house people will see and it’s also the last as they leave. It’s the place where friendships have been started by people of all ages and where great ideas on what to do next have been planned. It’s the place where, after a hard day’s work, I can shoot hoops with the kids and visit with them while shooting hoops. The yard is a place I can throw a baseball or football with the kids and not have to worry about getting into trouble for throwing in the house! The front of the house is the place we can sit and enjoy the beauty of the day no matter the weather!

Our hope is to always have an inviting front so when front door opens into the entry, you’ll know you are welcome. The front of our house says, “Come on in and enjoy your visit.”

Our House

As I looked back, it has been almost a year since I’ve written anything. As I think back to as why, I think it’s mainly because I’ve been in a place in life where all I wanted to write about was dealing with a difficult situation in our home. With that in mind, I am going to write more over the next few weeks not about things at our home but the things that make up our home.

In this first installment, I will describe each house we have lived in and then going forward, I will go through each room of the house we live in now from the front porch, into the front door, through the house and into the backyard. In each segment, I will explain what each room or portion of the house means specifically to me and why it’s an important into making up our home. I really hope you enjoy this project!

As a family, we have lived in many houses. We have lived in 2 apartments, 4 houses and a brief few weeks with each of our parents. Each of our places were much different and were perfect for the season of life we were living. Our apartments were where we lived as newlyweds. They were not the best of places but we made the most of each of the apartments. As a very young couple still in college and working full time, we lived in what we could afford. It wasn’t much but it was a place to lay our head each night.

Our first house was a small 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1 living room and 1 car garage house. It was in a nice neighborhood with great neighbors. This was our oldest 2 kids first house. It was a simple layout and needed a ton of work when we first moved into the house. It had been run down from years of neglect and we were more than happy to fix it up the best we could. We weren’t alone in this endeavor. Our parents helped and many friends helped us as well. It was the first time in our young marriage where we really had help from close friends in helping us. It was a great time and this home was perfect for our young and growing family.

As we continued growing in that house, an opportunity to buy another house came up and we jumped. It was owned by the widow of a family friend and we were blessed to be able to purchase this house. Our plan was to have this house as our forever house. It was much larger than our previous house and it was perfect for entertaining. We were so pleased with this house because it allowed us to serve as a place for many college aged people to come and worship, fellowship and learn about Jesus. I remember a dear friend calling while I was sitting in the living room one day asking if she could bring her brother over to visit. I was the only one home and said sure. Her dad, brother and she all walked in a few minutes later and while visiting with her brother, we all saw a broken man give his life to Christ right there in the living room. This college group filled our large living room with love, laughter and support. This house is where our 2 oldest kids really “grew up” and made many friends at the school in the area. It was where we went from having 1 dog to 3 dogs. (What was I THINKING??) This house was our house and we were never leaving. Well, not until we decided to buy a business and have Christy quit her teaching job. Due to this, we had to say goodbye to this house and sold it to a very good family. The interesting thing about selling this house was not only did we sell the house because of downsizing but we also no longer had our college group. In a way, it closed a chapter on our life that was one of the most important and fun times in our family.

Our next house was a true blessing. It was a family house that had been a rent house for many years. There were funds to fix up the house to what we wanted without us having to do a lot of the work. It was much smaller but we had no mortgage came along with it. It was an adjustment to our 2 kids at the time because we no longer were in the same neighborhood as the majority of their friends. It was in the same house my wife lived in when she was a girl and in the same neighborhood I grew up in so many years ago. When we first got there, there weren’t many young families but within a year, we had two new families with young kids move in across the street. They were a blessing to us in so many ways. As time went on, we rearranged the house, redid a bathroom and did a complete overhaul on the landscaping. It had become the perfect place for us and what happened next in our life literally reshaped our family because of our willingness and need to downsize. We fell in love with a little girl we had never met. She instantly became part of our family from the first day my wife heard about her. In my mind, she was crazy but in her mind and her heart, this little girl was born to be our daughter. I remember sitting in the living room telling her there was no way I wanted any part of this and someone else could take her in. Then, after many weeks, maybe 2 months or longer, I remember sitting in that same recliner in the living room crying my eyes out for this little girl. By us downsizing our house, we were able to up-size our family. We had to rearrange things in our house again and make room for her to move in with our oldest child. This was not an easy transition but it helped our entire family grow into the family God intended us to have. This was also the home of great heartbreak as we had to say goodbye to a loved dog named Chester.

As we grew in our little house, we knew it was time to start looking for a new place. So, once again, we moved into a new house. This is the house I will go through over the next few weeks and explain why this house is not a house but a home. This house no doubt fits us best for who we are today like none of the other houses could. This house gives us the personal space each of us need but allows us to be intimate as well. Everyone has their own room and it’s the perfect place for large gatherings. The neighborhood is great and the people around us are amazing! There are tons of kids always running around and everyone comes out to play. There are times we adults just sit and visit while our kids play. There’s always something going on and at any given time, there could be multiple games being played by kids of all ages. This house has so many things about it that reminds me of our journey. It started out as a simple house for a small family and over the years, it has been added to and changed in so may ways. Each owner has put their own stamp on this house and the stories the walls could tell if they could talk would be amazing.

Just like our house, our journey as a family hasn’t always been easy or clean but we’ve survived every storm. There have been times when each of us has shut a door to try to keep others out but have opened that same door to the people we were trying to keep out because we love them. Buying a house is easy. Building a home that will last is the hard part. As I go forward with each part of the house, I hope to build a picture of our home. I do believe we have a beautiful home, no matter if the lawn has been mowed or not, if the beds are made not or if the dishes are clean or not. All of this because our home isn’t a house, it’s what happens inside us that makes it a home. I hope you enjoy the next few Mondays as I share!

Love you all!!