Bicycles to Bypass…

One of my favorite movies is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. One of the quotes from that movie is a statement that has never been more true or more realized in my life than the past year.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

― John HughesFerris Bueller’s Day Off

After all, today is August 2, 2013 and I am still trying to find out where February went. Stephanie and I have been married for 7 years this year. Where did that time go? Conversations have changed in my life from talking about how many bricks to put under the bike ramp, to retirement plans. I remember the most difficult thing that I had to worry about was how to get gas for my gocart. Now I have a mortgage, I have to manage my blood sugar, and mow my own lawn and not get paid for it. I have cousins not much older than me, who are GRANDPARENTS! Really?

Recently, one of my friends who is a year younger than me, had bypass surgery. He didn’t just have one artery bypassed, he had 5! Another friend just found out that she has breast cancer. Stephanie and I have faced not one, but 2 miscarriages and another failed IUI attempt in the past few years. Now we are going after another fertility process that has greater odds in our favor than ever before.

These on top of me losing my dad just a few weeks ago are so not conversations that I expected to be having at this point in my life. Call me selfish if you want but I’m just not ready. I still collect Hot Wheels and have a lot of them on the shelves in my home office. That’s another thing. When did I go from playing in the back yard, in the pecan tree or in the “barn” tearing down bicycles and motorcycles, to checking my bank statements and working from home on the computer? When did life take me from playing Phantasie with my friends in front of a tv used as a computer monitor, to designing air conditioning systems for high rise hotels?

When I was younger, there wasn’t high speed internet, smart phones, or DVD players. I had friends that when I needed to talk to them, I did just that. I didn’t send them a text. I didn’t email them my agenda for the day. I hung out with them. I spent time with them. When did life…..speed up?

I’m not ready for this.

Truth is, we will never be ready to lose a parent, to face major surgery, or to face cancer head on and not let it defeat you. I am certainly not ready to be struggling with growing our family. We won’t ever be ready for these but we are prepared to face adversity. Those people that God has placed in our lives, taught us how to be prepared and how to march on through adversity, through loss, through grief, through uncertainty. My mom is showing me that every day. She lost her best friend for 47 years and she is leaning on God.  She is a ROCK! I have heard her say so many times recently that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me….” and I am still learning from her. Other friends of my family faced the same issues and I have seen how they came through on the other side. It can be done, through the One who can bring us through.

It has been said that God will never give us more than we can handle and I disagree with that. If we could handle tough times on our own, then would we need to lean on Him in tough times?  God will often give us more than we can handle on our own, but not more than we can through Him.

But, I still love remembering those days of  purple chopper bikes, hot wheels, and friends who I am still connected with today!

Dear God,

I have so many great childhood memories. So many memories of family and friends. Help me to always remember those times in my life that were truly blessings. Bring people into my life, who will become lifelong friends to add to the long list of people already in my life. Help us to always remember those who have gone on to be with you. Be with, comfort, and heal those in my life who are hurting, grieving, or facing adversity head on. Prepare me as life takes me from bicyles….to what ever life brings!




As my family adjusts to life without my dad, every where that I look in their house and in my life, there is evidence, or “fingerprints” of him there. The basement at mom and dad’s is full of his stuff. The garage has his “tools and toys” in every direction. Upstairs the evidence of the same. His chair is in the living room where he watched westerns and NASCAR on the weekend. The pool that he worked on almost all the time during the summer is still there. His dog Scooby, knows that something is wrong. My dad’s  presence is all around and will always be.

There is also evidence, or “fingerprints” that God is all around us also. Even during the week my dad passed away, God was there. So many people were praying for us. So many people were allowing God to use them to minister to us. Some people I had never met told stories of how my dad had helped them. Now, they were helping us.

As I stood outside one morning, I looked around and just verbally asked God, “how are we going to take care of mom and cut all this grass?” Almost immediately, friends of my brother pulled in to the yard with lawn mowers. Scott, the neighbor behind my parents, came up to me and said “don’t worry about the grass, we’ve got this.” The next thing that I knew, there were lawn mowers in every direction. Grass was flying like mad. How does that happen? God answered a prayer, WITHIN SECONDS!”

I never understood why God pulled us out of youth ministry until after we were back in Alabama. If God had not removed us when He did, we would have been in Memphis with Thrive Youth at camp, almost 6 hours away instead of 2. We wouldn’t have been able to lead that amazing group of youth for a while. God knew exactly what we would need to do and He removed those obstacles preparing us for what was coming. These are the fingerprints that God left while putting His plans in to motion.

He is taking care of us. He is loving on us and bringing people in our path to help us. Sure its not the same as my dad taking care of us, but it’s helping us move forward. As I have told people, it won’t ever be the same without dad but with each day, it is getting easier to make it through the day. Sure we still have our good days and our bad days, but through the strength that only God can give us, we will carry on.

Sure fingerprints of my dad will always be there and I’m ok with that ecause the fingerprints of God will always be there as well.

Dear God,

I can’t imagine how those without you in their lives make it through times like these. The grief that we have for our loss is sometimes overwhelming and almost too much to bear. Then You remind me that dad is with you….and with his parents….and with his brothers and sisters who have gone on before…..and with the 2 children that Stephanie and I lost, before we ever knew them. “Pawpaw” is taking care of his grandkids there too. So our grief, how seemingly so great, is so small in the joy knowing who dad is with now. Thank you for the comfort that brings.


2 Things…

This past week was one of if not the most difficult week of my life. I said goodbye to my dad as God called him home. He didn’t go too soon, he went just as God had planned. Sure I could sit here and be sad and tell you how much I will miss my dad but I am so blessed to have had him as my dad for almost 44 years and it’s time to move ahead.

Life with my family will be different in the days, weeks and years ahead but that’s how life is. We don’t need to dwell on who is gone, but be thankful and remember those who have gone, ahead. Every time I see a picture of my dad, or one of his tools at my mom’s house, sure I will probably lose it all over again but that is me being sad for me, not for him. I have a tremendous peace about where dad is right now. I have prayed for this peace for DECADES and this week, I got it. I got the peace about his salvation, THEN I got the confirmation. My dad is with Christ right now.

God has surrounded my family like I have never seen. He has answered so many prayers for strength and blessed us in so many ways with stories that we haver never heard of until now, of how dad touched the lives and helped others.

God told me the day that I heard the news that I would speak at the funeral. I had no clue what I would say and I surely had no clue that my brother would also speak and do a tremendous job. (There could be another youth minister in the making) God gave us the words. It was by far the largest group of people, friends and family that I have ever spoken in front of but God gave us strength.

I spoke of 2 things that I had learned through this.

Cherish your time together……..take lots of pictures.

As I did the video for the service, the pictures flooded me with great memories of time together. No one can take those from me as they will be in my heart and mind, forever.

Dear God,

Thank you for 44 years with my dad. Thank You for the perfect dad that he was. Thank You for what You taught me, through him. Thank You for the peace that I have knowing that one day, I will see him again.


It’s not the destination, its the journey…

In the past couple of posts, I shared the difficult decision that Steph and made to leave the youth ministry that God was doing through us over the past year. It was not an easy decision, it was probably one of the hardest decisions that I have ever had to make that came after a lot of prayer, a lot of counsel and a lot of talk between Steph and me.

I learned a lot in the past year. A lot about myself and the ministry. What I learned, I hope to pass on to other people in ministry so that they too can learn from what I went through.

With that being said, where are we now? What have we been doing for the past six week and where are we going ?

Since leaving our last church, we have used the time to slow down. The past year flew by for lack of a better phrase. We have visited churches of friends just to catch up and hang out with them. We have been able to spend a long weekend with my family. We have also done a lot of talking and praying about where God wants us next.

Stephanie is more traditional where I am more contemporary. Neither of us is putting our worship style first. Both of us are unwilling to settle for anything less than what God has planned for us. We are not set on a big church, small church, or medium size church. The size of the church doesn’t matter as much as the heart of the church.

So… the past few weeks, we have visited a few local churches. One church at first glance, you would think would not be the church that would stand out, but they are doing church RIGHT. The people were incredibly friendly. It was almost difficult for us to get out of the church because of the people coming up to us. Days later, we got not one single card from the church, we got 3. They value the gift of a visitor that God has given them and that stands out to me in a huge way.

On the flip side of that, one church that we visited is a very successful fast growing church in our area.