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!

Daddy & Daughter in College Station – Whoop!

It started out as a simple question, then turned into a burning desire and on October 30, 2010, it became reality.

While on vacation this past summer, Elisabeth asked for one thing for her birthday. It came as we walked from Kyle Field back to the parking garage to our van. “Daddy, can you please bring me down here for my birthday and let me watch A&M beat tech?”How could I say no? So with that, I started searching for tickets and just randomly, someone sent me a text. “Hey, you know of anyone who wants 2 tickets to the A&M – ttu game in October?” The answer was yes and the birthday present was secured.

As Elisabeth opened her present on her actual birthday in September, she couldn’t believe it. She was so excited but kind of bummed she had to wait over a month. As the time got closer, the anxiety was beginning to eat her up. I felt sorry for her because of the wait but I knew it would be worth the wait for her.

As we woke up on the cool, crisp last Friday morning of October, Elisabeth beat everyone dressed and was ready for her first Aggieland experience. The outfit she was to wear to the game on Saturday was the first thing packed. Maroon shorts with white strips and A&M on the side. A grey A&M shirt and of course, and A&M hat to finish it off. The only thing missing, according to her were A&M shoes, which she tried to get me to buy later.

As we got closer and closer, the questions started to fly out of her mouth. Everything from where is College Station to how many people will be there. Will there be any tech fans, and as she said, “I hope not.” Elisabeth was ready for anything but she had no idea how much there would be to do once we got there.

As the sun came up on our hotel room on Saturday morning, Elisabeth woke me up and said, “Daddy, it’s game time. Let’s go!” At 6:45 in the morning, she was ready for breakfast and more ready to get to the stadium.

As we arrived, the anxiety grew for both of us. Would there be a win in our future or just another game to wonder what happened? We put those questions out of our mind and made the jaunt from the parking garage to Kyle Field.

Her eyes were getting bigger and bigger as we neared the Fan Zone at Kyle Field and as we approached Elisabeth couldn’t help but grab my hand and say, “Daddy, I’m home!”

As we walked from booth to booth in the Fan Zone, Elisabeth would stop and want me to take her picture. We were just there a few months earlier but this time it was different. It was gameday and Elisabeth knew this time it was different. We walked and walked and went from store to store, tailgate to tailgate and ran into a few people in the meantime.

First we ran into NBA Hall of Famer, David Robinson. Elisabeth and Mr. Robinson exchanged a few words and as he came down to her level on his knee, he told Elisabeth that Christ will always love her. As he turned to me, he gave Elisabeth a hug and we got a picture of the two together. We stood in line to get autographs from Terrence Murphy and John David Crowe. Both of these Aggie legends lived up to all the stories about how great they are. Mr. Murphy requested a picture with the prettiest girl in Aggieland and Mr. Crowe asked if he could get Elisabeth’s phone number to pass along to his grandson so he could look her up when they are both in Aggieland in about 10 years.

With kickoff just around the corner, we decided on lunch and headed into the stadium to watch The Fightin’ Aggie Marching Band come into the stadium along with the Corp. It was a great scene and questions were flying out of Elisabeth’s mouth. As we talked more and more and the stadium began to fill, I tried my best to get her ready for the famous fly-over at Kyle Field. As the National Anthem ended, I told her to look behind us and here they came. Down low, fast and then loud, Elisabeth jumped into my arms and screamed, “What was that?” It was amazing to see and only at Kyle will you get that kind of experience.

Elisabeth sat through the first half of the game and as halftime approached, she headed to the bathroom so she wouldn’t miss the bands. As the Aggie band finished, E looked at me and said, “Daddy, everything is better in College Station, especially the band!”

As the clock ran down, we realized a win was coming to our Aggies. A win over ttu and a win for Elisabeth. A win for a Dad and his daughter to not only enjoy but to relish in. A game to remember for so many reasons but mainly that we were there together.

With the cannon going off in the background, the band playing, the yell leaders leading and the crowd swaying, Elisabeth and Dad had the time of our life. We went to watch football and in the ending, grew much closer. It was a time to get away together and learn a little more about each other. A time for her to look at me and say, “Daddy, let’s talk.” A time for me to look at her sleeping while I was driving and to begin crying over this precious gift. And a time to thank God for our weekend and our family!

I love you all!

Summer 2010

Well, it’s over. Summer 2010 has come and gone and it absolutely flew right by us. We were so blessed to have a very busy summer and it was a summer to remember.

Our summer started by us staying home in June, which is never normal for us. June was busy between an undefeated volleyball season for Elisabeth and the Super Stars and a very tough but fun season of baseball for Garrett. The kids absolutely loved playing their sports this summer and the parents absolutely loved watching; expect the baseball game where the temp was a cool 103. June also brought a change in our family forever. We moved into a new house at the end of the month and getting settled has taken the entire summer.

As June ended, we were ready for some relaxation and we got it. We spent a week on a South Texas tour with the kids. This included a trip to New Braunfels, which we were blessed to stay with the Duran family. We met them on a cruise in January and our daughters fell into a great friendship. We were able to go to Schlitterbahn, hang out with the Durans and see all New Braunfels and the area had to offer.

From there, we took off for San Antonio and spent 2 wonderful days there. The Riverwalk was great and we were able to see the Alamo and teach the kids a bit about Texas history. After San Antonio, we decided to take the kids to Austin and see the Capital. There we met up with an old friend, Andrea, who gave us a tour and it was great just catching up with someone from the past! We were also blessed to stay with the Menell’s and getting to catch up with Angie and get to know Bryan was great!

After spending one day in Austin, I couldn’t resist, I had to take the kids to College Station! It was there we realized our daughter, who is 8, will be going off to college in a very short 10 years. And according to her, she wants to go to Texas A&M after our visit! It’s makes me proud to be raising such a great girl!! Gig ‘Em!

We finished our South Texas tour with a day in Irving with family and it was back to reality but not for long. About a week after we got home, Christy and I jumped on a plane back to Austin for some Club Z! meetings and for our 15th anniversary!

After coming back home, we had one more trip to take and it was our annual work trip I have to take every year. This year it was in Colorado Springs. We were so ready for the mountains and much more ready for some cool weather! And cool weather is what we got! We were able to take the train up to Pikes Peak and yes, we saw a bit of snow up there! After 6 days in lovely Colorado, it was time to come back home and get ready for school.

As August arrived, I was busy at work again, Christy’s phone started ringing for Club Z! clients to get started again and the kids, well, they were ready for some time apart. We were able to pack in a few play dates during August but mostly, we were focused on settling the house and getting back into the swing of things!

We had a blessed summer and are now ready for the fall. It’s time to get back into the swing of life with hectic schedules but this year, it won’t be as bad as normal with Christy not teaching. We hope everyone had a great summer and we pray for you as fall comes. Enjoy your last few moments of summer because every moment has been enjoyed by the Amason’s!

Moving

Just in the past month, we moved into a new house here in Amarillo and it got me doing some thinking. Thinking about the past few years in our old house and how moving to this new house is not only a new beginning but a closing to so many other things.

When we moved into our house on 39th 5 years ago, Garrett was barely a year old and Elisabeth hadn’t started Kindergarten. Now Elisabeth is headed into 3rd grade and Garrett into 1st. It’s amazing the changes over the years in the kids in that house.

But it’s not just the kids that changed over the past few years. We have also changed. As I look back at every move we’ve made in the past 15 years as a married couple, it’s been during a time of change in more than the literal sense of moving houses.

For many of us, moving is a headache. It’s a time of stress, confusion on where things are, packing up your things, selling some stuff, giving some stuff away and possibly just throwing stuff away. It’s a time when we can sit and think about this and that and memories come back, one at a time and rush through us like a strong wind.

Moving is hard but necessary at times. It can release us or bind us, depending on the situation. But it should always allow us to start again. To wake up in a new place, wether it’s across town or across the world. New people to meet, new places to get used to and remembering where to go, home, not a house.

But for us, moving this time seemed a bit easier. I’m not totally sure why but I do believe it’s because this time, it wasn’t us moving. It was God moving in us. Leaving our “dream” home behind wasn’t hard because of the freedom it is bringing us. Freedom for Christy to quit teaching and concentrate on her business. Financial freedom of no debt. Freedom to do what we need to do, not have to do for the first time in a long time.

As I think back and now that we have moved and with the closing of our house very near, our “dream” home brought us many memories. Garrett learned the joys of walking, talking and playing in that house. Elisabeth made many friends at her school and started growing into a young woman right in front of our eyes there. We saw people grow in our house spiritually and personally. We had many people bless our home in small groups and we will always remember those times. I was able to see a life transformed on my couch there as a young man went from at wanting to end his life, to accepting Christ in a few hours of prayer, talking, loving and sharing.

It was a great home but those things won’t stay. They’ll move with us to our new home. That’s what makes a home. It’s not the house but the memories within the walls.

I’ve been blessed so much during this move and I ask that you take a look at where you are. Maybe you don’t need a literal move but a move in yourself. Maybe it’s time to pack some of the stuff away or throw the crap out. Maybe it’s time to go through the dust and cobwebs of life to see the beauty that is beneath. Maybe you haven’t seen or used some of your stuff (talents/gifts) in a while and it’s time to use them again before you have to throw them away.

I don’t know where you are but wherever you are today, I pray that you aren’t there this time next year. Sometimes growth is hard and there are times we have to pack up and move to get where we need to go next. Are you ready to move? I was and I did. What a blessing!!

I love you all!

Recession, Depression & Baseball

Recession, depression, the economy, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, elections, credit crisis.  These are all words we have heard in the news within the past few months. Yes, there have been many things said but none more than those words above. I don’t know about all of you but I’m a bit tired of them all.

I’m smart enough to know we are in a recession and many are depressed about it but I’m also smart enough to know that we can’t just sit around and dwell on it. The other day, I finally had something pop into my head about how to handle all of this while playing catch with Garrett and it made total sense to me.

Over the years, this country has gone through recessions, 1 great depression, 2 world wars, many other wars, 9/11 and other major things in our country’s history. But through all of this, I notice one thing is very constant. Baseball. Yes, baseball.

Baseball has been played for what seems like forever in this country and this is where America seems to turn when things get bad or depressing. Yes, baseball has it’s problems but so do other sports. Growing up in a home where football was king, I’m not sure how I fell in love with baseball. I have always loved playing the game and I think it’s the hardest sport to understand. But it’s the one sport anyone can play. For many years, baseball has been played on sandlots, streets and just wherever you can throw, hit and run around homemade bases.

Baseball is the American past-time and I only hope people can get back to baseball in life. I think people should look at their day to day life like baseball. It takes strategy and you have to have enough determination to take the chance to be great. Nobody ever got great by looking at only their present. But by taking a look down the lineup to see who’s left to hit and pitch. You build strategy for the next inning and for the next inning. And if you’re lucky enough, you can set yourself up good for the next game. Baseball and life both take team efforts to put together a winning franchise. Baseball is the one sport where one person can’t make all the difference. It takes everyone going in the same direction to get to the final goal we all share.

In one of my favorite movies, Field of Dreams, James Earl Jones says it best. “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”

Baseball is a HUGE part of my past and I hope to pass this along to Elisabeth and Garrett. I know many people don’t get baseball, but in learning the game, you learn a ton about life and yourself. After playing a bit of catch with my five year old the other day, I realized that baseball can be the release to all of the recession and depression talk. Do yourself a favor and find a kid to play catch with. Throw until the pain of the day has gone to your arm. Don’t let anything stop you from doing this. Enjoy the upcoming baseball season as it marks the beginning of spring. A new beginning for trees, shrubs and just maybe, if you’re lucky enough to enjoy it, a new start for you!

Have a blessed season and please, if you get the chance, go to a park and watch kids play or go to a stadium to watch men play like boys. But all in all, do it to help change your outlook. No, baseball can’t save you from anything but it can release you from everything if you let it!!

I love you all!!

God called Elisabeth and she listened

It was a typical Wednesday at the Amason house. Get out of bed, let the dogs out, get breakfast for the kids and get everyone ready for the day. Drop the kids off at school and then head to work. Work for a few hours, get the kids from my mom’s go over AWANAS and Cubbies verses for Wednesday night and then off to church. But what Christy and I had no idea was this Wednesday was going to be God’s day to add to eternity. Elisabeth and Garrett were taken to church on Wednesday night by Christy because I was already at church in a meeting. After AWANAS, Christy took the kids home to get them ready for bed while I went and hung out with a good friend. According to Christy things were totally normal at home. Come in, get the kids in a bath and then put them in bed. Christy was praying with Elisabeth like we do every night and Elisabeth showed Christy how amazing and perfect the innocence of a child is and how God uses those moments to show us how we should be. Elisabeth started her prayer like her typical every night prayer and then all of the sudden, she just did it. She asked Jesus to come live in her heart forever. Christy said it was just so simple and perfect. And that’s the way it should be. Pastor Randy said they talked about the Romans road to salvation Wednesday night and he said she was totally engaged. God used the entire day to prepare Elisabeth’s heart and our hearts. Elisabeth showed us again how simple and innocent things should be. Many people think there should be some HUGE conversion or feeling or a slap to the head but remember God moves in His ways. This was the day God called out to Elisabeth and she listened. Yes, God pursued a 7 year old and pulled her to Him. Just as He did with Elisabeth, God calls out to you. Just listen with the innocence of a child and know God is calling out to you. All you have to do is listen and follow God.

Love you all!!