dear dad

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Something in me couldn't hold this one back. Too much has gone on. So, here it is...

Dear Dad;

I write you now for so many reasons. Some I understand and some I don’t, regardless I write everything because I love you. Not only do I love you as much as any son could love his dad, I admire you so much. In many ways it may be because I am learning, albeit slowly, what it means to be a dad myself. The closer my own son comes to arriving the more and more I feel of what I can only imagine you have felt for years.

Years you spent as my Dad. Oh, how I loved those years. I know I didn’t always show it well, as a matter of fact, often I showed it poorly, but I really did love having you as my Dad. All those times you played basketball with me in the yard. Not on a basketball court, mind you, but that rocky desert terrain of dirt we called a court. The place I received my first and only bloody nose – from my Dad. The place I learned to dribble a basketball and shoot free throws. The place I learned that a basketball is not that hard to dribble when you have a flat surface. I cherish al those hours, the nights you would come home from work and I would time my basketball time just as you got home. “How about a game, Dad?” You would be so tired sometimes, but you’d still play. I can’t thank you enough; it meant the world to me.

All those times you helped me out, and let me pay you back by doing projects with you around the house and yard. I thought you were exploiting me sometimes; I came to learn you were spending time with me. Teaching me. Loving me. I learned to shingle a roof, re-roof a garage, change a transmission, change a clutch, change the oil, change a tire, frame a spare room, drywall, drive a tractor, among many, many other things. I learned the value of sacrificing and serving those you love. I learned so much.

Oh, and the cars. How I love the car stories. The Chevy? The Sprint? The Nova? The Pathfinder? The Metro? The other Nova? Sorry, Dad. I learned a lot though. Yes, I learned them the hard way, but I sure was glad you were always there for me. I can only pray to have a tenth of the patience and grace you gave me with my own son. I do have to say though; I like sharing the projects with you way more then the repairs. I look forward to finishing that Nova; I wish I were closer, so we had more time to do it together. I am glad we share that though.

I remember the sleep-overs when I was younger and how you would wrestle with me and my friends. How you would set up the tents outside. I remember how much fun I had wrestling with you in the living room. Sometimes I got out of control, what a little temper I had, but you had more patience than a monk. Good thing for me.
I used to have so much fun going to the mountains with you to get fire-wood. Learning to run the chainsaw, or how to chop up the wood. Betting double-or-nothing on whether or not you could chop the log in one swing. You could, about 95% of the time. Good thing you never held me to the rules, I’d still be paying you off. I had so much fun and learned so much. How I admired my Dad.

As of recent memories I can think of all the four-wheeler trips and geocaching. The crazy stuff we would find. I love your stories. Stories of growing up. Stories of when times were simpler, easier… harder and more complex. Stories of Alaska, stories of family. Stories of Moab and stories of mining. You have great stories, I hope I tell stories as well as you do. I won’t have as good of stories so I hope you don’t mind if I borrow a few of yours to tell my son. I will tell him about you all the time because I can only wish to have just a little bit of you in me. I hope with every breath I can be more like my Dad

I’ll never forget some advice you once gave me, simple advice, but good advice: “Don’t do anything stupid.” You told me as I got into my car off to party with some friends. I don’t know if you realized the impact of those words, but every time I forget to think and jump into some idiotic decision those words scroll through my brain. You have kept me from a lot of mistakes. You never stopped me from being able to choose, you never locked me down from making mistakes, but you taught me to learn from them. You let me grow; you let me become a man on the terms that they needed to happen. You gave me the advice I needed when I needed it – without controlling me.

I want you to know how much I love you, how much I look up to you and how grateful and blessed I am, that you are my Dad. It is because of you that I am able to be who I am today. The things you taught me, the strength you gave me, the love you showed me, the life you lived – all of it – is part of who I am, and I cannot thank you enough for everything. Words cannot express how much I love you and what an amazing Dad you have been to me. I love you Dad.

But I want you to know one more thing. Even more important than knowing how much I love you and look up to you, I want you to know how much God loves you, even more so than I love you or, as hard as it is to believe, you have loved me. I believe this with everything in me. My life exists to share this with everyone else, how much more importantly my own Dad. One thing you taught me above all these stories and lessons, is that who you are, who God created you to be (especially in my own life) has shown me more than any other single person or thing what God’s love is like and how much he loves me, and you. Why he would give his son to die for us, simply so that he could be with us.

I know this is where my letter bridges into the far-fetched, possibly the unbelievable, but I want you to know this more than anything else, Dad. This life, the one we live today, is the beginning, not the end. There is more – I sincerely believe that with everything in me. Its not far-fetched, its not unbelievable, I spend my days, my career, teaching these truths to junior high and high school students for a reason: because it is real and it does matter… more than anything in this world. I have seen God change my life, change these kids’ lives; I want you to know that in your life.

I want you to know my God, Dad. To know how much he loves you, to know that his son died on a cross for you. I want you to know that with everything in me I believe this. I can only pray that I live it out too, more than just telling you. That I live it out for my son, the way you, likely unknowingly, lived it out in so many ways for me for me. A Father’s love was such a wonderful example of how God loves us.
Dad, you showed me through your own life a glimpse of God’s love; through you, God revealed himself to me, in my life. You have been an inspiring example of love, patience, tenderness, grace, mercy, strength, sacrifice and friendship. I don’t know what you think, nor what you believe, so that’s why I say these things, because they mean so much to me – more importantly, because you mean so much to me.

Thank you Dad, for being such and amazing father and friend. For teaching me so much, for being such a great example, for loving me when I know I was so difficult to love sometimes… for believing in me. For playing with me, wrestling with me, and laughing with me, for being patient with me and for forgiving me even when I least deserved it. Thank you for loving my Mom, she means the world to me too, and I know you mean more than the world to her.

I hope, I pray that I have just an ounce of you in me. If I can just share that much of you with my son, he’ll turn out ok. I pray I can be as close to as good of a father to Noah as you are to me; to be so understanding, to be so patient, to be so loving, so sacrificing, so… good.

I admire you more than anyone Dad, I look up to you as a standard of something to I strive to be, but most of all – I love you Dad – don’t ever forget that.

Thank you,

Your Son

happy birthday

Saturday, January 10, 2009

24 years ago today my lovely wife entered this world, and as such my life, making this one of my most favorite days of the year. I have been celebrating this day every year with lovely wife for 5 years now. So happy birthday Shelli! You are my everything. Thank you for being the most amazing, loving, understanding, supportive, compassionate, indescribably wonderful wife ever! I in no way deserve someone as beautiful and special as you, but don't think that for a second I don't thank God for how grateful I am for you. Words just aren't good enough.

So from the little Kangaroo growing inside, to the little crazy puppy chewing up the house, and from the extremely handsome husband (hey! don't laugh), we love you - our amazing mom, wife and friend. Happy Birthday! 

I love you!!

maiming of a Christmas penguin

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sam, our adorable little wood chipper disguised as a dog. The peeing and the poo-splosions have ceased, but the gnawing, chewing and shredding of our happy little home continues. Sam has managed to chew up door handles, baseboards, blankets, and just about anything within range of those little chompers. This led to a theory – give him something to chew on and he’ll be too occupied for anything else, right? Ahem, no. See I bought Sammy an over-sized tennis ball not to long ago. It was a holiday deal at Petsmart and I thought it’d be a nice treat. Turns out, it was more of a treat than I had originally anticipated. I arrived home at 3pm. Played with Sam for about 45 minutes. Resumed my holiday baking, and by 6pm when Shelli arrived home, Sam had about 1/3 of a Tennis ball remaining intact. 3 hours – dead ball. Poor ball never stood a chance.

This entire story thus far is merely a preface of the main point. See for Christmas Sam received a cute little Penguin from Grandma Pam and Grandpa Gary who periodically, and thankfully, watch our little raging puppy from time to time. I have posted two photos: the first document the little penguin in his original, pristine state on Christmas Eve. The second, documenting the result of one night with Sam. The unfortunate little penguin was able to walk… errr… roll away with only the loss of his limbs, a much better fate than the tennis ball.

Christmas Eve...

the Aftermath...

the puzzle

Sunday, January 4, 2009

So every year a little voice in the back of my mind creeps in to convince me of how much fun a puzzle would be. This epiphany usually makes its presence known right around Thanksgiving and carries itself to an excruciating fruition right about the New Year. This fun little bout with insanity usually costs me a couple sleepless nights and countless uninspired hours of staring blankly at a table full of random pieces glaring back at my frustration with their own uppity contempt.

A delightful not-so-little 864 square inches of 2,000 microscopic evil amorphous puzzle pieces met their match just a few days ago. Of course, the question must be asked, who met whose match? Considering somewhere near 35 days of puzzle war before the victor was crowned. A victory nonetheless.

I am proud to say the battle is over, the war is one, and the wife is much happier without the Van Gogh inspired monster hogging the dinner table.

I survived...

Friday, January 2, 2009

the New Years Eve Youth lock-in. Barely. 7pm to 7am. 30+ Junior and Senior High youth. 6 leaders. 1 hour of basketball, 1 of dodgeball. 4 movies, countless video games, 12 pizzas, who knows how many sodas, and one amazing and extremely good God.

See I was reminded of why we do all this. Last year’s lock-in we were completely impressed if we had 15 youth. Lets just say we under-planned this year when the kids kept pouring through the doors. Thirty!? Really? And we still had a handful of youth who didn’t make it. Tons of friends. For a moment I realized, many walked through the doors of a church for the first time, some walked through having their perceptions of what a Christ follower really is, shattered, some heard God’s wisdom in ways they had not yet imagined, some were inspired to know Him more. Some were inspired to love Him more. Whatever happened, I pray, I hope God changed lives for the better. That they all, we all, would know Him more. For some it opened doors for them to enjoy this journey with us, and I hope and pray they do. God is amazing. I love being part of this ministry with Him, with my wife, and with these kids. He is indescribable. She is wonderful, and my everything. They are outstanding. I am so unworthy of all this.

Christmas Thoughts

What a wonderful year. It came with its ups and downs, but overall it was refreshing holiday. We enjoyed a slew of Christmases this year starting by visiting my parents and family in Moab for a few days. We enjoyed a wonderful time with my Mom, Dad, Sisters, Niece, Nephew, Aunts, Uncles and Grandma. We made the tours of several homes, opening presents with all varieties of family. My Mom always goes out of her way to make sure everyone enjoys the holiday and she was hard at work as always this year. She did a wonderful job I might add, always waiting on everybody and making sure we were having a good time. It was a great time to see my family. Working for a church, which of course means working weekends; I have less opportunity to go visit. Though my family understands, I still have times where I miss them greatly. I don’t get to see my nieces and nephews grow up and my Mom and Dad and Grandma and Sisters seem so far away sometimes. I relish holidays and time to spend with them. It was a good year.

We played board games, video games (my family got a little into the Rock Band scene), ate food, enjoyed the Christmas Eve Service at my church back home (it was so good to see all my long lost friends, it had been a while), opened presents, played outside and lounged around. We even took little Sammy down with us and my Dad had a great time with him. My Dad was so convinced of Sam’s excess energy that he had the great idea to hook him up to a sled.  After hooking him up and sitting down on the sled… Sam sat down next to him. Not exactly a sled dog I guess.

After Moab we made the trip home to enjoy a Haskins family Christmas. We spent Sunday with the Lansings and Haskins opening presents and eating more food. Gotta love the holidays, right? We had a wonderful time, and Gary made these amazing wooden toys for Travis and myself. He is quite talented. Shelli’s present was pretty amazing too, but I will let her detail that one.

Noah and I hit the penguin jackpot this year from Pez dispensers and giant pens to stuffed penguins and ornaments, the list goes on. I like penguins so I was pretty stoked, although I think Shelli is on penguin overload. Good times.

Next year will be Noah’s first and I can’t wait to share Christmas as a full-fledged family. Couple more months and the little guy will join us, I am so excited.