30 Years…

August is a significant month of the year. Not only is the end of summer in sight, but it also brings about the return to school for the boys. Steph and I made the decision a few months ago that she would step out of the workforce and step in to the role of homeschool mom. A role that she is more than qualified for and I have all of the faith in the world that if anyone can get the boys to where they need to be, she is the one who can do it.

With the start of school this year, I came to a VERY HUGE REALIZATION. 30 years ago this month, I, along with my best friends, started our senior year. Yes I said it, 30 years.

30 years ago, I had my last first day of high school. That year would be unlike any other year that I had gone through. 30 years ago, I had the EASIEST schedule that I could imagine. Sure I had the requirements (government, history, advanced math) but I also had a very slack schedule for the rest of the day, (art IV, library aid, office aid and wait for it……10<sup>th</sup> grade business math.) Yes, I was the only senior in business math and ended the semester with a 108 average.

The schedule that I had gave me a lot of time to be involved with other activities and created a lot of new friends, and new memories. I got involved in the drama club and our “Bug Brigade” homecoming float knocked off the Art Club for the first time ever.

My closest friends and I had been in the band together since 6<sup>th</sup> grade but this year, I made the decision to step out. I had a job during the summer that would have kept me out of it anyway but I wanted to watch a halftime show from the fence, not on the field. I wanted to hang out with friends, not practice every night until dark.

The friends that I had in band, I remained close to then, and I am still close with today. I called a few of them recently just to remind them of what happened 30 years ago. All are married with kids and grandkids, but even after all of this time, we are still close.

It almost never fails, that during those calls, we talk about memories of school. There are a lot of advantages of schools today over the school that I graduate from, (Senior class of just over 70) but one thing that St. Clair, had was I knew everyone in my senior class and most of the juniors.

When I was there, I couldn’t wait to get out. I couldn’t wait to be grown. I couldn’t wait to make my own decisions, be on my own, do what I wanted to do.

Now I find myself often thinking back of those days that have long since become just a memory…

21 Volkswagen bugs spread out over my front yard for the bug brigade…

Riding with one of my best friends in her red Toyota Corolla up hill in the left lane…

Band trips to Rome Georgia…(ironically I don’t live far from there now)

Freezing cold trips to Homewood competitions….

The art house…with the ceiling that one of your friends fell through….

Yellow Porsche 914’s…then Red Porsche 914’s…

Friday night lights….from the field and from the fence….

Having pizza at least twice a week in the lunchroom….

Going to your Senior Prom with your date but spend more time with your buddy’s date

Shooting pool at Joyce’s quick mart where she was known to look the other way….

Even better times….being the third one off the field following the tradition to run off

Graduation night….

A lot has happened in those 30 years, to all of us. Some are parents with kids at home while some are parents with kids in college. Some are even grandparents if you can believe it. We have all moved on, made new friends, had jobs, some served in the military.

Life happens.

As I look back on the past 30 years, I can’t help but wonder if the times that my boys will be experiencing in the next 8-10 years, will they even come close to comparing to the same time in my life. I am so blessed to have had the friends that I had then, and still have today. I hope and pray that Joseph and Jason will have friends that will be as close as family like those that I have that were with me in the good times, with me in the bad times, and are still with me today.


Dear God, Thank You for the gift of good friends. Even though we are scattered all over the place, we are still tied to each other. Help the boys to have the friends that will be with them for life. Help them to be the friends to others for life. Protect them during these upcoming years.


Faith to live, without…

June 19th….Father’s Day 2016….Longhorn’s Steakhouse Douglasville, GA…That was the last time that I had a soda. Until then, I was a 3 or 4, sometimes more, soft drink addict for DECADES. I was tired all of the time, my sugar was out of control even though I was drinking diet drinks with zero sugar. I was grouchy all the time and not fun to be around.

That was my first official father’s day and it was a turning point for me.

I decided on that day that there were some things in my life that I needed to change, a few things that I needed to get rid of and a few things that I needed to add. Soft drinks were just the first item on the plan, and little did I know, the most painful.

Day 1 went off without a hitch. Sure I wanted to throw back that Diet Dr. Pepper in our fridge but I held strong.

Day 2 the headaches began, not strong at first but very constant.

Day 3 bring on the thunder. This brought on the absolute worst headache of my life. I think that day I went through about 8 Advil and I never take more than 2. It was constant, it was throbbing and was not going away.

Day 4 the light at the end of the tunnel was flickering. Yes I still had the headache but not as strong and by the next morning, it was gone.

During this time, I also went without something else, sleep. I began getting up at 4:30 and walking in our subdivision. It took a few days to get back into the habit but now I miss it when I oversleep.

I knew it would not be easy making these lifestyle changes, but I also knew that once I was over it, I would be better off. This made me decide to also get a checkup and visit my eye doctor. Both of these are something that I avoided like the plague but again, something that I needed to do.

I have always been somewhat of a bury your head in the sand kind of person. If I have checks and don’t check my balance, then I SHOULD have money in the bank. If I don’t check my bloodsugar, then its ok. If I don’t go to the doctor, then there is nothing wrong.

I’m tired of living that way. I am tired of living life without living it to the fullest.

So Steph and I have made the decision to once again work toward selling our house and moving. This past weekend we drove up to Chattanooga and just drove around where we might want to live. We have always loved this area and if it’s ok with God’s planning, that’s where we want to make our last move here on earth to.

But that’s the key. It’s not up to us. It’s up to God. Since my dad passed, I have prayed for God to move us to West Georgia and be closer to both of our parents. God answered that prayer and I now have a job in West Georgia, where I am miserable. I prayed for a specific location without praying for God’s plan. I prayed for what I wanted without considering what God has planned for my family.

Right after we started going to Westridge, Steph met a couple there that are also living without, except they are living without what they want, and are living for what God wants (check out alaskanvanamans.com). They are also living without 2 of their boys as they stayed behind in Georgia to go to school here. I can’t imagine life without being close to my family and surely can’t imagine being without Steph and the boys. Having the faith to live without putting our wants first, is what we all need to work toward. Having the faith that regardless of how dark life can be a times, a life without faith in Christ is so much worse. When we are without a clue on how He will provide for our needs, He still provides.

Matthew 6:26 – Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Following the Vanamans has really made me look at my life and realize the blessings in my life that I don’t want to live without, and made me question could I?

Luke 14:26 – If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.

We have to put him, first, in front of everything including those we can’t live without. We have to put God’s plan for our lives ahead of the things we don’t want to live without. Otherwise we can’t truly follow Him, and then we will be without…

Dear God, help me to appreciate the value of the blessings of life that you have given me and help me to see that regardless of how valuable they seem to me, they pale in comparison to a life with You that no one can place a value on. Help me to see the things in my life that I need to live, and the things that I need to live, without. Help me to have the faith to live without.

License and registration please…

As soon as I rounded the corner, I knew I was busted. When I saw him pull out and pull in right behind me, I knew it was only a few seconds and then….blue lights.

I was being pulled over.

I pulled the truck over to the side of the road and the officer pulled in right behind me. For what seemed like an eternity, he sat in his patrol car obviously running my tag to make sure this would be safe.

A lot of things went through my mind. What exactly did I do? What if there is a computer error and I am arrested? What if someone I know and knows my truck drives by? I immediately sent Steph a text and told her just in case.

The officer stepped out of his car and walked up to my truck. I already had the window down and my license out. “Can I see your license please…”  I handed the officer my license and he read over it. “Mr. White, I noticed that you had your seat belt tucked in behind you, or dd you not have it on?” Truth is I didn’t have it on. I had leaned over to pick up my phone and forgot to put it back on. Truth is normally, I don’t wear it in the truck because its not comfortable but this day, I did have it on earlier, but right now that didn’t matter.

The officer took my license and stepped back to his patrol car.

Even more ideas went through my mind. I have 2 boys right now that I make sure they are buckled before Steph’s car moves but now, I was in trouble for not wearing my seat belt. That doesn’t really set a good example for 2 growing boys. It’s like I wear it in the car, but not in the truck. I make them wear it in the truck and they have busted me many times, but now I have to tell the boys who we are teaching to obey rules, that I have broken one myself. It’s like I have one set of rules to live by in the truck and one to live by in the car.

How many of us, myself included, sometimes live by 2 sets of rules. We have one set for when we are at church or at home,  and one set when we are at work or out with our friends? We have our church rules to live by and the rules the world wants us to live by. Working in the construction field, it is easy to slip up, especially when it comes what we say and do.

After what seemed to be forever, the officer came back up to the truck clipboard in hand. “Mr. White, I’m issuing you this citation for not wearing your seatbelt…..” He was polite, professional, and nothing like what police officers have been said to be like, in the previous years.

I took the clipboard, and signed acknowledging my wrong and handed it back to him. Being given a ticket is not something I am proud of but it has made me aware of the need for wearing my ticket. It has also made me aware of the 2 sets of rules.

As I handed the clipboard back and the officer handed me my ticket, I actually thanked him. I said “Officer, I was in the wrong. I do not deny it and have no ill will toward you. You are doing your job and by you doing your job, you have made me aware of me needing to wear my seat belt. You may have saved my life later on, thank you.”

He in turned thanked me and told me that he rarely gets hospitality and a thank you for giving someone a ticket.

I pulled out and headed home ticket in hand, and seat belt in place

I know you…



I heard my name called but didn’t really know where it was coming from until I turned around. Standing there just a few feet away from me was a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in years. He was the web designer at a church that Stephanie and I were going to so he and I connected almost immediately.


Even though I hadn’t seen him in years, he remembered me. He knew me.


A few weeks ago, I heard something similar standing in line in Publix. A small boy, standing with his dad, looks up at me with a big smile and says, “I know you..”


Now throughout my life, I have been known by a lot of people for a lot of reasons. In high school, when others were wearing black members only jackets, I wore a purple one. The name “Grape Ape” stuck almost immediately. I was in art club, beta club, drama club, and others so I was known in a lot of areas.


After school, I got in to going to mini truck shows. Being the only one with a hydraulic tilt bed, (thanks Dad!) I was always asked to make the bed of my truck go up. Then the name “Do da bed” stuck. It wasn’t long before that name was heard a lot every time I drove up.


Talk to me in the fall and you will know me as a HUGE Alabama fan! (Roll Tide!)


In my career, I’ve been known as a draftsman, designer, project manager, service coordinator, operations manager. In ministry, I’ve been a youth chaperone, youth leader, youth pastor, and associate pastor.


Now, I’m known as a husband, son and most recently, daddy.


None of these would be something a 5 yr old boy would call me yet he knew me. I had no idea how he could know me until he let the secret out of the bag. “You’re Joseph and Jason’s dad!” Something new.  Someone outside of our home recognized me because of my relationship to my sons. The life that I live as their dad is making me known to others, like my marriage to Steph has me known as her husband.


I’m ok with that. I’m proud of being both.


A day is coming where being known is going to be very important. It’s going to be crucial to where we spend eternity .


Matthew 7:21-23New King James Version (NKJV)

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’


One day, we are going to breathe our last breath here and take our next one standing before the One who holds our very lives in His hand. We won’t have anyone with us to introduce us, tell of what we have done here with the time that we have been given. The only thing that we will have is the life that we lived here.


Recently I have taken on a new job that has a lot more requirements of my time than any other job before. It has taken away the time that I had to take the boys to school, the time that I had to be involved more in ministry, and it has cut down on the time that I have to spend at home at night doing homework and spending time with my family.


It’s not what I want to be known for. I want to live my life with more intention than just focusing on my job. I want to have a healthy marriage. I want to bring up 2 strong Christian men in my boys, and I want to be there for my friends and family when they need me. Most of all, I want to be right in the middle of God’s plan.


For now, God has me here for whatever reason that is. He opened this door and only He can release me and open another.


He knows the plan, because He knows me.