Turn The Page

I guess this is the time to reflect on 2016 and look forward to 2017. It’s been an interesting year with many highs and lows. I don’t think it’s important to breakdown every little thing that occurred over the past 12 months, but maybe just touch on the things that had the greatest impact.

In March, my Reynolda High School boys basketball team lost in the Championship game of the Hoops4Him basketball league. I know many might wonder how a church league high school basketball game could have such a big impact.  It wasn’t so much the game but more of how the game played out. Reynolda basketball has always been a family. Year after year our kids continue to come back and want to play on Sundays and that is special. What I learned from the defeat was humility. We were going for 4 in a row and in the end there was some unfortunate reactions that led us to not show the proper amount of respect that we would like. I love these kids. Each and every kid has a special place in my heart because they have been a huge part of my life for the last 8 years.  This defeat hit home to me that these are kids and they make mistakes.  Although we would have liked things to go differently, the Reynolda family only grew stronger and closer together, which I think is a huge deal.

In April, I was able to watch my little one’s cheerleading team bring home the Championship in their Myrtle Beach competition. It’s funny, but growing up you always hear your parents say they want you to do better than they did and if you are like me, you kind of didn’t believe them. I believe them now. I thought I was as competitive as anyone and wanted to always be first but when I see Laekyn on the cheer floor and I have absolutely no control of what is going to happen, I just pray that everything goes great! Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t, but to see the joy and happiness ohomen her face from taking the Championship, then I knew this meant more to me than anything I’ve ever accomplished.

In May, I purchased a house that I thoroughly love.  Over the past several years, people who know me best know that I’ve gone through some internal struggles. Things haven’t always been how I thought they should be in my life. I had to start over and rebuild what I thought would never crumble. When I purchased this house, it was like a new chapter was starting in my life and for the first time in a long time, I was in the right place at the right time.  Everything is in front of me and now it’s just my job to go get it.

At the end of May I lost a very important piece of my life.  My Paw-Paw was a very special man. I spent so much time with him growing up that I know I am part of the way I am because of him.  I will never see a Krispy Kreme or a Mayberry without having a smile on my face from our visits there, especially when he’d give me a quarter to play Tecmo Bowl.  I am glad he isn’t in pain anymore and am so blessed for the time I had with him.

I guess you coupaw-pawld say the first half of my year was packed with moments while the 2nd half was a little bit quieter.  For a June to December summation…Bought a Supra, got a
cat, celebrated Laekyn’s birthday with a limo, got a year older, and went to Dankfest. That pretty much sums up 2016.

As we turn the page to 2017 we are faced with many challenges.  The country is divided along many issues.  I say we leave the governing of the country up to the elected officials and we leave the healing of our nation to our Heavenly Father. We have gotten so wrapped up in all the political back and forth, myself included, but at the end of the day there is only one person I control the actions of, and that is myself.  Social media is littered with people being upset and I get it. I understand that when you are upset and angry the easiest thing to do is lash out and with social media you have been given an outlet.  I want to give you another outlet.

  • If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker, If you feel lost, He’s a way maker.If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior.
    If you got chains, He’s a chain breaker.”

My God is a chain breaker. My God is a pain taker. My God is a way maker.  Don’t rely on a politician to do something for you because they can be swayed and influenced. God just wants to hear from you.

In 2017, let’s move this country…not to the left or to the right, but towards
the heavens cause that is where this country’s Savior truly lives.

Good Good Father

If you haven’t heard this song, you have been missing out.  The lyrics are very simple but they really struck a chord with my daily life.  I always strive to be a success at everything that I do.  If I am running on the basketball court trying to recapture my 20’s(and struggling mightily), I do so with everything I have.  If I’m working my daily job then I look to prove myself every single day.  I leave every fiber of my being in those situations.

But above those trivial, self-fulfilling situations, my goal is to be a good good father.  From the first cry in the delivery room, the health and well-being of our child is in the forefront of a parent’s mind. Have you ever sat and pondered what is going to make you a good good father?  What day-to-day tactics will have the biggest positive impact on the life of your little one?

I was blessed with a beautiful, talkative little girl who tends to act more like me then she probably should.  Does that mean that I haven’t done a good job in raising her because she is a talkative, friendly social butterfly?  I like to think that isn’t the case. Every child is different and every child needs something different from their parents.  We’ve established that I’m very chill and not likely to get too riled up over things that happen, but with that being said, no prior life situations prepare you for raising another life.  When I raised my voice over the clothes in the floor, does that mean that I didn’t understand how to communicate with my child or that I was a horrible, mean individual.  I like to think that isn’t the case. Children need direction and they need boundaries.

What about when your child makes a mistake and quits school after his parents have paid every dime to make sure he didn’t have any student loans?  How should you react?  You love your child but something like that can be infuriating and would be easy to see that driving a wedge into that parent/child relationship.  Here’s where we as Christians are lucky.  As unprepared as we all feel as parents, we are blessed because we have the greatest father to use as a role model.  We have a book full of examples of how a good good father takes care of his children.

I forget this all the time and feel like I have to figure everything out on my own instead of leaning upon the greatest teacher and father that has ever existed.  We have been shown more love than any of us could have ever deserved so even when my child screws up, I’m going to show her more love than any of us could have ever deserved as my heavenly first showed me that same love.  I’m going to show mercy because my heavenly made the greatest example of mercy in what took place at the Cross. He saved me when I didn’t deserve to be saved. I didn’t live up to his expectations but his mercy and grace and love was poured out upon me.

So what does it take to be a good good father? It’s actually pretty simple. Love your children as your heavenly father loves you. One of my favorite songs is called “What It Means to be Loved” by Mark Schultz.  The premise of that song is that with whatever time you have, show that special someone in your life what it means to be loved. So do that with your kids. If you show them that love then I think you can be proud that you’re a good good father.

 

What About The Good?

I remember when I was little I would save my quarters so I could buy a newspaper. I read the paper cover to cover as I wanted to just learn as much as I could from the local, national and world news. Somewhere as I grew up, the yearning to open the paper seemed to fade away. I still listen to talk radio from time to time and turn on the local news every once in a while but there is just too much mudslinging and complaining to get any real enjoyment.

So instead of focusing the news that the mainstream media broadcasts, I want to share some stories that I found throughout the world that show that for as dark and dreary the current times may seem, there is still a light shining.

One of the hot topics in recent times is the act of bullying in school. I am not so far removed from school to remember those kids that were picked on for the way they looked or the way they acted. Looking back it seems so silly to have acted in that manner but it’s one of those dumb things you wish you could change.  With that in mind, I wanted to shine a light on a young man at Greenwood High School name Tae Moore. Tae had noticed a fellow student, Taylor Bates, was being picked on and teased about the way he dressed and looked and wanted to do something about it.

One day in the gym Tae stopped Taylor and asked his shoe size. Taylor was skeptical but told him size 9. Tae said to meet him in the exact same spot the next day.  The next day, Tae showed up with a Foot Locker bag containing a pair of Retro 1 Jordan shoes. Taylor asked Tae why he was doing this for him and Tae said, “I heard people have been bullying you, so I wanted to get you these to make you feel better.”  Taylor hugged Tae and was almost moved to tears. That’s a special story of people taking care of people. It’s funny because I watch a tv show called “Girl Meets World” with my
10-year-old daughter and one of their themes was “People Change People.”  With this as an example then I sure hope that’s the case.

When i was going to ECU, my first career goal was to become a kindergarten teacher. That sounded like a great idea until I realized I might not be very good at the job. I want to highlight a teacher in Iran that really gets it. There is a young child in his cla80jil-teacher-cancer-boy-reads-to-him-hospital-iran-1ss that has been stricken with cancer and is stuck in the hospital.  This teacher didn’t let that obstruction get in the way of educating his student.  The teacher would go everyday to the hospital and fill the student in on his missed work over the hospital phone. As a parent of an elementary student, that dedication would be such a blessing. As the story noted, he’s sending the boy a powerful message: he will beat cancer and continue on with his life, so catching up on his schooling is important.  No one would ever hear about this story but it’s one that should be shared.

I firmly believe I have the greatest mom that ever lived. There is nothing I could ever do to show the admiration that I have for her and what she has done during her life to help me become who I am. There is a story out of Wollongong, Australia that goes down that same road.  Daniel and Jason Knust surprised their mother with a new BMW.  The brothers stated that the money was saved over a span of 10 years.  Daniel wrote on his instagram caption, “Showing gratitude to our beautiful Mum who’s worked so hard to give us everything in life. Compared to the sacrifices she has made for us over the years, this is nothing. Hard work pays off, and that’s something our Mum taught us from a very young age that we’ll never forget.”  The love and respect from children to their mother is what I feel is a foundation for living a positive life.

These stories aren’t being shared as world-changing stories. I just wanted to highlight a few cases where people went above the regular call of duty to make another one’s life better.  These are just a few examples where there are plenty more that should be brought to light.  These stories show that the good will of people hasn’t disappeared. I would love to implore the local, national and world news channels to showcase the good in society because as I’m starting to see, “People Change People” and we are the ones that spearhead that movement.

Below are links to the stories in this post:

Tae Moore buys classmate Retro 1 Jordans

Iranian Teacher Goes to Hospital to Teach

Brothers Buy Mom Dream Car

Express Yourself

Emotions for me have always been a minefield. Some could describe me as closed off and with a lack of feeling. Those would be ones that don’t know me at all, but more power to those folks. While I may not wear my emotions on my sleeve, when you understand me, then you will get a grasp of what matters to me.

I am often described as the most laid back and chill person you would ever meet, and that is a true statement. Through life experience I have grown to never get too high or too low. It seems like that would be the perfect way to be, but as I get older I wonder if I have just convinced myself of something that isn’t really a fact.

My outlet has always been a pencil(dating myself there) and now the computer. Writing gives a freedom to express feelings that may not always just roll off the tongue. I am not an open book, and will wager to bet that I never will be, but I want to use this blog as a window to experiences I may see on a daily or weekly basis. I don’t see myself as some special person that has a wacky or crazy life that will keep readers at the edge of their seats, but I do think that with all the broken people and families in this world that possibly someone could stumble upon an entry and see that other people are going through a daily struggle that they can relate to.

The last few days have been really weird for me. For the first time in 10 years I spent a Christmas away from my little girl. At first, I thought the possibility of
a slightly less rushed Christmas experience might not be so daddy-laekynbad…wrong assumption. Waking up without the rush to the living room for presents, for lack of a better word, sucked. For all the stress that can come along with the Christmas rush, it’s something about the smile of a little girl that completely washes away that away.

If I am being totally honest, missing my little one has really opened my eyes. Like many people, I get so caught up in the day to day that I completely lose track of the greatest gift and blessings we have. God gifted me with a family that is always there, even when I screw up in the worst ways possible and lose most of the things that mean the most to me.

I visited the graves of my Paw Paw and Granny and just spent a few minutes reminiscing. It’s funny how in all the hustle and bustle of life you forget the foundation of what you grew up on. I remember going on walks around the neighborhood with my Paw Paw where he had to talk to everyone cause that was just his personality.  He loved people. Then there was my middle school years where I would walk home to my Granny’s house and she would fall asleep during soap operas and I spent a little time with the Saved By The Bell crew.  The time I spent with these people(when my Granny was awake) generated so many memories and I think somehow I had forgotten that.

I want to make sure that my little one, Laekyn, has the opportunity to make those same memories with her grandparents. I am the King of saying I’ll do it tomorrow but as we know…tomorrow never comes.  I am never good at keeping New Year’s Resolutions so I am saying let’s just make a commitment to bridge the divide within families.  We all try to give our kids things that we never had but forget to make sure to give them everything that we did.

Quote of the Day:

“We can’t praise God on Friday and curse him on Sunday. He’s the same God on Friday as he is on Sunday. We have to trust that He knows what’s going on.”