Archive for July 2008

Brian

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It was a beautiful evening, Millie needed some exercise and the boys had a surplus of energy to burn. We headed down to a local park and were enjoying the sunset when a man who referred to himself the "Dog Whisperer" offered Millie a treat, chatted for a minute and walked away.

While the kids and Trey kicked the soccer ball around, Millie and I headed around the path and there on a bench the mystery man appeared again. Millie knew he had the goods and practically accosted him. I asked if he had a dog and he told me he had just put down his two black Labs. He went on to tell me that he couldn't have a dog right now because he was homeless. He pointed to his car in the parking lot and said that was where he was sleeping until he began receiving Social Security next month. He gave me a bit of his life history (Alaska fisherman, back injury, disabled, etc.) and as I continued asking questions, simply out of curiosity, I discovered he had not eaten in two days.

As Millie and I walked away I kept thinking of Jesus' words: "When I was hungry, you gave me to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink...." I was so burdened for this stranger but also wondered if he was selling me a bill of goods. I can't count the number of times I've bypassed a panhandler at the intersection writing him off as another drunk and refusing to put a penny in his dirty hands. Why did this circumstance feel so markedly different?

I went to my car, grabbed some cash and returned to his bench. I placed the money in his hand, told him to get some food and wished him well. He asked if I was from around here and said what I did was "such a Bellingham thing to do and that is why he loved this place and returned here to start a new life." I told him I was just following my heart and maybe I'd see him around again. His response: "You definitely will."

Whether he is full of it or for real, that is between him and God. Whether he uses it for drugs, alcohol or a hot meal I will never know. Or will I?

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My friend Alex

Monday, July 21, 2008

I just received an email from our friend Alex Hedgepeth in Arkansas. This guy has such a heart for people--especially young men. I love his periodic updates--they always give me something to ponder and sometimes act on--and I wanted to share this one. I keep badgering him to start his own blog but for now I will give him space on mine.

Hey Friends,
Well, those who have known me for a while and have been wondering when I was going to move again, you can stop wondering, we moved into Siloam Springs two weeks ago. I know, surprise, surprise. There were several reasons for our move, the chief being for Courtney and Tatum to go to school there. Several reasons for this include, one, we feel led for them to be in school instead of being home schooled, and they will have an opportunity to play volleyball (which they both dearly love and excel at) there. I had to leave my job at New Life to move (rule about living there), so I am pursuing what God’s next step for me is. I have an application in At JBU’s center for relationship enrichment (and it is moving at glacial speed) for a position that would assist with their Northwest AR healthy marriage initiative. I am ready to be working with adults and men especially again, so I ask for your prayers as I pursue this next step.
Truthfully, I have a book on my heart I would like to write about identity, so if any of you have seen any material on that subject, please let me know.
We know that God ahs always made us let go of what we have before He has shown us our next step. Right now, I am remodeling the house we bought and keeping really busy with that. No, actually right now I am on my way to Tucson AZ to watch Courtney play in a HP national tournament. She made a regional all star team that is playing here. WE are going to enjoy SW NM today and be in Tucson tomorrow. Tatum’s team won their region and played in the JO national tourney in Dallas where they finished 42nd in the nation. They had some good moments and bad. I was proud of Tatum in that she never got down on herself or her teammates and played hard the whole time. When it comes down to it, that’s the reason for youth sports, to give them opportunities to lead, face adversity, and fellowship with others. Anything else just stresses out parents.
OK, enough about me, now for the latest hero I know. His name is Stephen and he is a mechanic in Siloam Springs. This winter, I was at an auto parts store owned by a friend of mine, and was asked would I talk to someone who was down. Sure, I answered. They called Steven there and he was at the end of his rope. He was trying to help some kids that had been in the DHS system in OK for some time. Dad was in prison for life and mom was no where to be found. These kids had been in 18 different foster placements. They had suffered much abuse in some of those homes but especially in their home of origin, so you can imagine how hard they were to deal with. Steven experienced urine in his shoes, excrement on the walls, yelling, crying, anger, etc along with terrible progress in school, and quite frankly, teachers that were ready to give up on the kids.
I told him how courageous he was to take on this battle and that Satan was going to pur it on hard for awhile longer, but, scripture tells us to resist and he will flee, so Rex and I encouraged him to hang in there awhile longer. He did, it got better and then more attacks came, DHS red tape, the runaround, threatening to take the kids away, all of which scared the kids and caused them to act out more, after they showed that when things were stable in their life, they would do well.
Things finally came to a head about a month ago, when Steven was in the process of adopting them. Much was thrown at him and they kids. They hung in there and persevered and succeeded with the adoption. He told me later, “I never would have believed that any one thing could make that much difference, but they are TOTALLY different kids know that they know they will never have to leave again”. My hat is off to this man. He has fought the good fight. It might now ever make the papers, or get fame and fortune for this, but he is a genuine HERO!
As I was writing this I thought about how Galatians tells us we have been adopted into God’s family. We don’t have to act out anymore either! It does make that much difference!
So, prayers for me please. Also, I have some friends that are thinking about getting a divorce because they don’t have anything in common anymore. I really feel led to step in and tell them what a foolish and tremendous mistake they are making, so I really need some prayer for that also. I feel like taking the husband down the street to my friend whose wife is a paraplegic, and yet he continues to care for her and do EVERYTHING for her, it makes me love my wife more every time I look at his house (he’s another hero).
So, I will write again when I have news.
Your Brother
Alex

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The Life of a Soccer Mom

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Prior to becoming a parent, whenever I heard others refer to someone as a "soccer mom" it would conjure up images of a ponytail wearing, Suburban driving, middle aged gal carting her kids to practices, games and tournaments. I imagined she lived vicariously through her child while controlling his schedule and pushing him to be the next Beckham. I decided she "obviously didn't have a life" and I would never be her. Fast forward 11 years and here I am.

The reason I haven't had a post in 12 days is because Quinn and I just returned from a 6 day road trip to Boise, Idaho (600 miles from here) to play a total of four soccer games--two of which were against a team 30 miles away. Don't ask. I can now add this experience to my list of "I'll nevers." You know, the ones that belong on the tally sheet of all the actions I'm now guilty of since becoming a dog owner.

We thought long and hard about the ramifications of allowing Quinn to try out for this soccer team. We knew it would require a great deal of time, logistical effort and currency. Would it be fair to the younger boys? If we said "no" to Quinn because of his younger siblings, what legitimate reason would we have to say "no" to Ben when his time came?

Although we're only two months into the season, I can deduce that it's been the right decision thus far. Not only is Quinn in his element, but this is an exceptional group of young men. I would be proud to call all 15 of them my own--without the laundry or grocery bill, of course. They are kind and encouraging to one another and respectful to their coaches, referees and parents. What I witnessed over the last week was a pleasant surprise. When other teams were playing dirty, shoving them, tripping them and using foul language they maintained their dignity and played like professionals. When they had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. (which was 4:30 their time) they were in the hotel lobby with smiles on their faces. When they were told "no swimming" to conserve their energy for the following day's game, no one complained. When they had to play in the late afternoon's 100 degree heat, those boys gave it 100% and left their hearts out on the field.

I've since decided that the definition of "soccer mom" fits most every mother out there. She is someone who is willing to sacrifice time, sleep and convenience for the joy of watching her son or daughter learn, grow and excel in life. Whether our kids participate in team or individual sports, music, art or another extracurricular activity, we are all desiring the same outcome. The challenges and the victories are equally as gratifying no matter what the subject. There really is a little bit of "soccer mom" in all of us.

I don't regret our decision at all. Quinn is learning some incredibly valuable life lessons both during the game and on the sidelines. I, on the other hand, am still trying to learn the definition of "offsides".

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