A Few Good Men

Every Father’s Day is a day in which in am able to think about those men who have helped me along in the thing called life. I am blessed to have a loving dad who has been a blessing to not only me but so many others. I thank my dad for everything he has done over my 37 years. But in addition to him, there have been other men. Men who didn’t have to be there and at times, probably wondered why they were there. Men who, if asked today, may or may not know how they impacted my life. Men who, would never look for anything more than a hug when I see them and an honest answer to what was going on in my life.

These men came from all over. As far back as I can remember, there are certain men who took time out of their life to show me how to a a better son, husband, dad, friend and overall person. Some like Bill, came from my early days of church at St. Luke Presbyterian Church. Bill is a larger than life man in so many ways and would let me know when I was wrong but always corrected me in a loving manner. Bill always prayed with me and for me and to this day when I see him, he always gives me a kind word and something to think on. Others were coaches of ball teams like Vernon, LeRoy and Jim. These men showed me the importance of winning and losing the right way. They also showed me if you wanted to be great, it would take work.

Other men came from my family. Way too many to acknowledge all of them but they have normal names like Bob, Mike, Johnny, Clark, Wayne and David. They all have the same first name though, Uncle. There was J.W.; aka, Granddad. A tall, strong cowboy who would let you know where you stood. You weren’t allowed to talk politics or religion but if one on one, he’d let you know. I’d like to think he’d be proud today of our family. Proud of where we are and even more proud of who we’ve become. Others were Bob, Wheeler and Rodney. Brothers who would beat me up and tease me but be the first to stand up for me. Thanks guys! All of these men in the family have shown me how to love, teach, rebuke and love even when it’s hard.

More men came from church in my adulthood. Men like Mark, Kyle, Richard, Jason, Alan and so many others. Men who have prayed, loved, cared so much it hurt. We’ve shared tears, sweat and even bled a little in hopes of learning more about each other and Christ. We’ve laughed and been mad at each other. Asked for and offered forgiveness. Shared the Gospel and watched grown men fall to their knees experiencing the power of Christ. We’ve sat through long meetings and disagreed but always came back to the realization it’s not about us. We’ve seen growth in ourselves and our families. We’ve come together in the time of need and been so broken we didn’t think we could be fixed. We’ve been real.

As I look back, I can’t help but look forward to see who God might put in my life next.  I hope you’ve had a few good men in your life and I hope you’ve learned what they’ve tried to teach you. I only hope I can be as good of an example for my son Garrett as my Dad has been for me. I also hope I don’t get in the way of anyone’s growth. I am thankful for the lessons from a few good men and I look forward to more years of learning from more men! Thanks gentlemen!

Daddy, let’s talk

“Daddy, let’s talk.” Three little words from a young lady that will just absolutely make you stop in your tracks. One phrase said so simple and sweet you almost miss hearing it. Three simple words, said so boldly, you can’t help but wonder what’s wrong. Three words my daughter said to me one evening after a great day with her. One phrase every parent longs to hear but is scared when they hear it.

But as she said it, I could tell, there wasn’t anything wrong, it was all good. You see, it was right after our game at College Station and we had been together for the past 24 hours. Sleeping, eating, watching football, cheering on the Aggies and much more. I could tell throughout the day there was something on her mind. Something she wanted to say or do but just didn’t know how. And as we sat at the Cotton Patch restaurant in College Station, she simply said, “Daddy, let’s talk.”

I wasn’t sure what about but I was sure it was something. Could it be boys? It always seems to be boys. Could it be school? It never seems to be about school. As I looked into her eyes, I said, “Yes, we can talk.” There was time and that’s all we had that night. Nowhere to be and only about 2 hours ahead of driving for us. As she talked, I realized what she wanted. She wanted me. Nothing more, nothing less. She wanted time to ask her Daddy about growing up.

How were times “back-then” she would ask. All kinds of things she wanted to learn about and I was plenty happy to tell her about it. As we continued talking, I could tell she had a peace about talking to me. I could tell this was her first attempt at opening up and seeing how much she could trust me when asking me questions. I could tell this was the beginning, not the end.

Over the few months since this conversation, there have been countless times I’ve picked her up at school and heard, “Daddy, let’s talk.” We’ve talked about how dumb boys are and about how important school is. We’ve talked about problems with friends and who the best friends are. We’ve talked about God and His plans. We’ve talked about cancer, divorce and what hurts us. But mostly, we’ve just talked. Daddy and daughter talk. Things maybe she shouldn’t hear at times but at least she heard it from me. Time for us to grow closer together and build on what God wants us to build on. Talking. That’s it. No expectations, no demands, no pretending.

As I think about our conversations I can’t wait for Garrett to open up more and more. To me or his mother, it doesn’t matter. But I’ve also realized that I haven’t fully said these words all the time to my “Daddy” as much as I need to. Not my earthly Dad, we talk all the time but to my Heavenly Daddy. Why? I have no idea. I can talk about good things, bad things, dumb things or just nothing and He’ll listen. He won’t judge and I may have to wait to hear His advice. But through it all, He will listen. He cares more than I’ll ever comprehend and loves no matter what. He’s the One I need to say “Daddy, let’s talk,” a lot more often to. Three words, one short phrase we need to say more often. Daddy, let’s talk.

I love you all!

More than an Uncle

Over the past week, I’ve had a chance to sit and think about someone who’s really been on my heart. His name is Wayne Rivers, better known as Uncle Wayne to me. I have cried, laughed, pondered but mostly just thought about the great times we had with him and what he means to our family.

Uncle Wayne has always been larger than life to me, well, mainly because he’s a rather large man. But one thing that’s always been great to see is that while he is a large man, his heart has always surpassed his frame in size. I’ve remembered back this week to family reunions at Thompson Park, birthdays, times at lake Fryre, Thanksgiving and Christmas. To me, Uncle Wayne has been more than an uncle.

From as far back as I remember, Uncle Wayne has been the guy who has given me a hard time about stuff but always said he loved me when I left. He’s always been the loud, large uncle who may have yelled at me for doing wrong but the first to give me a hug after explaining to me why he was so upset. Uncle Wayne was the first to give each of my kids a taste of coke and you know what, I didn’t mind because it was his way of showing the kids they could come to him for what we wouldn’t give them. He’s the type of family member you wish everyone had and then when I sit and think, he’s my uncle, you thank God for him.

As much as he means to me as an uncle, he’s always been much more than an uncle. He’s a son, brother, husband, father, grandad, uncle, friend and just full of God’s love for everyone to see. God has definitely used you Uncle Wayne and our family is so much better off for it. Upon the death of Grandad, you filled in so gracefully as the patriarch and you have done an amazing job in Grandad’s shoes.

You and Aunt Eveline together raised 3 amazing children and poured your love and knowledge into 7 amazing grandkids. You have touched so many’s hearts in our family and in this community. Our family and community will be forever touched with your generosity and love.

We will never have another Uncle who will give the “Wayne Balance Test” to our kids when they are just a few months old. Your time on earth may be short now but your memory will last forever. You have done the job God had for you and from my point of view, you did it well. Thanks for everything and know you are loved and your memory will live on in our hearts and minds. I love you Uncle Wayne!

Love you all!!

My Thoughts

Over the past few months, many people have asked me my thoughts on God, prayer in school, politics the middle east, the pledge and many other things. Well, here are a few thoughts. If you don’t agree good, it’s America and you don’t have to.

I am not a perfect person but I am a saved child of God and I love the fact that I have been forgiven, even though I don’t deserve it. But that does not give me the right to shove anything down anyone’s throat if they don’t want it. The Bible strictly states that we are to be sowers of seeds. We are not to tend to the garden, the people we share Jesus with, in any way. We are to sow the seeds and prepare for rain. Only God can call a person to Him and only He can transform a life if we accept Him. If we do anything else, we risk turning that person away from God for eternity. That’s not something I want on me when I am judged by God himself in eternity.

I do believe in the fact that the Constitution does grant the seperation of church and state but nowhere does it say we have to have a Godless government. I do not like the idea that prayer was removed from school the way it was but you know, the way I see it is that only we can totally remove prayer from the school. Nobody can stop us from praying for our children and teachers in school. I think it should be fine for a teacher to pray with their kids without any fear, if asked. I know you are supposed to be able to but trust me, lawyers have made this very uncomfortable for teachers to practice. The school should have no say in any religion but I believe both creation and evolution should be taught for the sake of teaching ALL ideas. Remember, creation takes in account for ANY God people believe in, it’s not just a Christian teaching.

As far as the pledge goes, I don’t care. Take Under God out, leave it in. It doesn’t matter to me. The way I see it is I don’t have to pledge to God anything while staring at a flag, I’ve already pledged my life to Him. I respect the flag and think it should be saluted in an honorable way but I will NEVER put a flag above God.

I don’t know what the future holds for America but I can tell by Biblical reading, it’s going to get interesting. We are not mentioned in Revelation so that tells me something right there. I do believe that there will be an Anti-Christ but I can tell you there’s no way it’s Obama. Obama is nothing more than a politician and I don’t like politicians. I thought John F. Kennedy and Ronald Regan were as good as it gets in the past 50 years and Lincoln was probably the best we ever had. But none of them are God.

I also believe the government can’t fix the economy. Only Americans working together for the greater good can do that. It happened once in America and if we would just allow ourselves to succeed, we could. We can’t buy our way out of the mess we put ourselves in and I don’t think the government has or will ever give me a job or fire me from one. And yes, this includes the President. One man can’t fix everything but he/she can get enough Americans thinking in the right direction to get this place fixed. The middle east, as stated in the Bible, won’t see peace whlie I am alive on earth but I know we have to be on the side of Isreal. But I know at some point we won’t be.

All I want to do is love God with all my heart and share what He as done for me. I will follow the laws of the USA because the Bible says to follow the laws of the land, that’s reverence unto God. I will pay my taxes, as I believe churches, businesses and people should do, becasue the Bible says to. I will respect the office of the President of the United States of America because damn it, it’s right. The office should be respected but the President should not be thought of as a Savior but as a man who is going to make mistakes as we all do. I do not have to agree with every decision made nor do I have to sit and gripe about it either. I have been given a brian and the ability to share what I believe without bashing others or showing disrespect to anyone. I think before talking, I research before stating and I stand on my beliefs. Something I wish more people did. But oh well. 

May God bless you and your family. And please remember that sharing God’s love isn’t shoving it down people’s throat, it’s living it out daily.

I love you all!!

Tiny Moments

In a conversation the other night with someone, something came to my mind and that’s what I want to talk about today. It’s in conversations like I was having that night that makes true Godly relationships priceless. Just both people being real and discussing what God says to discuss.

Anyway, we were talking about this and that. It was a father daughter conversation and one that will stick in my mind forever. We talked for a while about the week and then it happened. God allowed our hearts to come together for the betterment of our family. Yes, our family because she’s a HUGE part of it.

What came from that conversation was this. We were talking about being real people and helping each other no matter how big or tiny; that’s the word she used, tiny. I told her that no matter the situation no matter how big or tiny, we have to be there for each other. We have to be willing to listen, pray and give counsel.

We have to know there will be big moments like broken hearts, financial issues, family issues and dreams that are shattered in front of our very eyes. These are the things that everyone sees. The things that stick out and where the hurt or happiness show. It’s easy to come together in these moments and support each other because they are noticeable and need immediate attention. They bring us together but don’t always mold us together for good.

But was we continued, our conversation went from talking about these big things to a talk about the things that don’t really show. The tiny things. The passion that’s inside that hurts when you fail but also hurts so badly reaching the goal. The tiny things that only one or two people know. The desires you have have shared with just a few. The stubbed toe, the stupid mistakes, the lost love you never had, the, well, the things that mold us. The tiny things are the things that if you are brave enough to share them with anyone they could make you vulnerable. But they make you grow at the same time. They don’t stick out until you look at your heart. And they only stick out to you. They are comforting but hard at the same time. Tiny things help us help others and keep us from helping others, thus hurting others without knowing. But all in all, they are us.

As I write this, I only have love and admiration for people who can share the tiny things. The ones who don’t let them stop them from going in the direction God is calling them. The people who help the hurting becasue they hurt and help the ones who don’t really need help but feel it’s necessary. It’s the people who share everything they have even when it hurts. The ones who can open their hearts long enough to let others hurts in to help ease their pain. The ones who can just sit and listen and not judge the other person. The ones who well, who can help us work through our tiny things. To work together for the betterment of them, their family and most importantly, God.

That’s who I want to be. Yes, I’ve had my moments. I’ve helped but I’ve hindered. I’ve not listened to the calling of God in my life because of the tiny things I try to hold onto so dearly but should give to Him. I listened a few times and in those moments, it’s amazing. I’ve grown and moved just a step closer to being who I’m called to me. He will allow me to be me, if I allow Him to move in me.

As the conversation came to an end, I told her to remember this and I will ask the same of anyone who reads this. Remember in big moments, it’s easy to cling to each other and grow; but it takes the tiny moments to melt our hearts into one for Christ.

I do love you all and I ask that you pray for me, Christy, Elisabeth and Garrett. We are learning about our tiny things and we are growing closer to each other and to Christ but it is painful at times.

Love you all!

And to the daughter who helped write this, thanks and know that I love you!