Archives For parenting

The following is from an Instagram/Facebook post my wife posted. It is a reflection of our heart and I am so proud to be married to this woman.

I have been putting this boy to bed for several months. He likes to hold my hand as he falls asleep, since the first night in our home. I couldn’t even count the number of those nights that he would fall asleep and I would look at his sweet face and sob asking God why. SO MANY WHYS! And wondering how I was going to let someone I love so much go.

A song called Take Courage has been playing in my heart and mind since we were in child search. Those nights I would have to really command myself to “take courage my heart. Stay steadfast my soul. He’s in the waiting. Hold on to your hope. Let your triumph unfold. HE’S NEVER FAILING!

Well a few weeks ago we experienced a major turn of events, and a true Christmas miracle for our family and I really saw how much God has been at work in our waiting. We found out that WE get to be this sweet boy’s FOREVER FAMILY.

Wow God…

Now when I put him to sleep I can look at this face with deep deep gratitude for what God has done and only He could have done.

I’ve been processing a lot in these past few weeks the very painful process of adoption for everyone involved…the foster parent who has to let the child go, the bio family who can’t care for the child, the adoptive parents who know that their joy comes out of lots of pain and brokenness, the child who has experienced more loss than any human should ever have to.

It would be an understatement to say that fostering and adoption have become so important to me and close to my heart. If you want to talk about getting more involved in this community, I would love to talk to you.

Thank you to all who have been praying for our family during this season.

Timothy was baptized at Two Cities on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 by his father, Gilbert.

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In this episode, we go to the Fresno Chafee Zoo with 3 other families and we are completely outnumbered. Have you ever tried to herd 14 kids through a zoo? It’s a little crazy. Josiah’s favorite part was Sting-Ray Bay. It’s awesome because you can pet the sting-rays and some sharks too! We’ll be back next week, since we bought a family pass, to shoot a video for a school project. Enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular updates.

This year, Easter was a little crazier than usual. We put on our 3rd annual community-wide  FREE BBQ and Easter Egg Hunt at Dry Creek Park in Clovis, CA and people showed up in droves. The first year, it was basically for Two Cities Church. The second year we were able to invite a couple of hundred people to participate with us, but this year… this year was a different ball game. This year well over 800 people, maybe even 1000, came out to the hunt and it clarified for us that this event is for the community and not at all for our church. So next year, we’ll have that mindset as we enter into it.

Our kids walked away from that hunt with ZERO eggs, because it wasn’t about us. So we had a little hunt at a family gathering and then a third at our friend’s house. Here’s a short video highlighting all three from our Go.Do Youtube Vlog. Subscribe to the YouTube channel for more regular videos.

 

Your local public park can be a great source of adventure. Most people take their kids and sit on a bench while their kids play. They (we… I’m guilty too) use the time to catch up on email or Facebook. But what if we helped their imagination bloom? What if we became part of their games? What if we participated with them? We’re making these YouTube videos to encourage people to play together and Go Do Something. Life is actually pretty amazing and my kids are growing up fast, so I’m trying to be more proactive in enjoying each day with them. Sometimes it’s little and simple and sometimes it’ll be bigger, but it’s something.

What kinds of things do you do with your kids to create memories together?

 

 

In our second episode on Go.Do, our new YouTube channel, we go to a brand new pet store in Fresno called Lost Realms Pets. It’s awesome and you should go! Check it out:

Tripp & Tyler are at it again. They’ve brought you some of the best comedy-shorts/commercials that YouTube has to offer. You may recognize their work with Email in Real Life and A Conference Call in Real Life. Here you have it… their latest comedy-short/commercial, Poo-Poo Parents Say. I definitely relate to this one. I say most of these things, multiple times a day and if you have little kids, you probably do as well.

Enjoy.

Brian Jennings has written a book for families who want simple, practical, and easy to follow suggestions for how to Lead Your Family. The book is primarily for Christian parents who want their family and children to grow in their knowledge and relationship with Jesus.

In my opinion, the concepts and practical applications of this book are perfect for elementary aged kids through high school. From cover to cover, the book is 51 pages. If you’re on-the-go and busy, like any parent, you may not have time to read long-form books and when you do, your focus may be pulled in 100 different ways. That’s why I love the 51 page approach. It’s easy to read. It’s fast paced. The chapters are just a couple of pages each, which makes you feel like you’re making great progress no matter your pace.

Chapter 1 sets the family up for success by encouraging you to make sure the whole family is on board to live with purpose, proactively, not reactionary. He then subdivides the sections of the book into four parts: During the School Year, Summertime, All the Time and Anytime. These are great to help you recognize the needed rhythms in Leading Your Family. One of my favorite chapters is entitled “Slay Electronic Addictions” and I bet you can guess which section that one lands in. I’ll give you a hint… it’s the one with the most down time.

Jennings explains that during the Summertime, in his home, nobody is allowed to look at or give attention to an electronic screen before noon. Wow. Imagine that. I have a three year old and a five year old and the amount of screen time they currently get is a little embarrassing. That’s something we’ll be tackling here very shortly.

The practical implications of Lead Your Family are not high and lofty things. They are simple. They are direct. They cause you to question and rethink your prioritization as a family. This book causes me to rethink or at least question how well I’m teaching my kids. How am I doing? Are they learning to be generous, to treat other people well, to use electronics wisely, to pray, and to study the Bible? These are questions that plague the minds of many parents, but are quickly forgotten in the busyness of parenthood.

The last chapter is perhaps the most under thought on subject for Christian parents because it doesn’t address behavior, which is something we’re all so worried about. It addresses the subject of how to talk to your kids about baptism and making their own decisions on following Jesus and when the timing is appropriate for them to own that decision.

All in all, it’s a quick read with twelve practical ways to improve how you lead your family.

You can find more information on how to obtain your own copy of Lead Your Family at LeadYourFamily.net.

Holy Week is supposed to be an emotional roller coaster. I mean, it’s the week Jesus entered into Jerusalem triumphantly, had an epic meal with his best friends, was betrayed with a kiss, put on trial and executed by the Romans by the pressure of the Jewish leaders and some of the people who were praising him, just one week earlier. That’s a roller coaster.

Add to that the sixth-monthiversary of Two Cities Church and our very first Easter service! There’s some emotion there too.

But this year, Easter weekend was marked by a life-event I never wanted to experience.

Easter Sunday I preached a message about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and how that’s the first-fruit of the resurrection of all of God’s adopted children. But what made that so extremely personal was that as I was preaching, my mom was on her death bed and hardly responsive. She had spent the previous 2-weeks in the hospital and at one point we thought she made a turn and was in recovery mode, but then took another turn.

On Thursday night, the night before Good Friday, I got a call from my sister saying, “You’ve got to come back to the hospital. She’s ready to go home.” Which you’ve got to understand home was not her house. Home meant heaven. So Erica and I rushed over to the hospital and all I could think was, “Of course. She’ll probably wait until 12:01am on Good Friday to go home.” But she didn’t, she hung on. She hung on for my brother to fly in, for my uncle Larry, my aunt Melody, my grandma Dessa and a whole host of others to come say good-bye.

One of the most heart-breaking and memorable things I’ve ever heard was my grandma walking into my parent’s house, seeing my mom on hospice, sitting by her side and saying, “I came to go with you the rest of the way. We started this journey together, just the two of us, long ago and we can finish it together.”

Two days after Easter, on April 7, 2015 Cheryl “Mots” Foster died. My biggest cheer-leader. My go-to person for some encouragement or wisdom. My spiritual role-model. My Mots. But not just my Mots, my dad’s wife, my brother’s mother, my sister’s mother, my wife’s mother-in-law, my kid’s grandma. Our Mots and maybe even your Mots.

The last thing I ever said to her was, “I’ll either see you tomorrow or in heaven. I love you Mots.” And I really do believe that I will see her again.

I could write volumes upon volumes on my mom. Maybe one day I will. But for now, I’ll leave you with this… a video of the celebration we had in her honor this past Saturday. Here are some details.

  • I had the honor to officiating and planning the Celebration.
  • My sister read the obituary.
  • My Uncle Larry told some great stories.
  • My Dad told the story about how they met in Yosemite.
  • My brother talked about her legacy.
  • Around 300 people from all over California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Texas came out to celebrate her life.
  • The majority of us wore RED because that was her favorite color.
  • She had one request in relation to her celebration… she wanted Jill Douty to sing ROAR by Katy Perry. It was her life anthem this past year.
  • We didn’t have a traditional guest book, because that just wasn’t her style. So I had asked my friend’s Josh and Hilary Dildine to create a thumbprint tree for our guest book (pictured below).
  • And we feasted on some great food after the celebration.

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Entire Celebration:

Starting at the eulogy and to the end:

Thank you to all of you who have provided meals, support, love, lent your talent, given hugs and prayed for our family. We have felt your love and will continue on with the mission of Jesus Christ. We love you all.

epic-memories
What if your kids looked back on their childhood and thought, “those were some epic times?”

I have a friend whose family didn’t save a penny for their kids college education. Their theory was that it was up to their kids to figure out how to pay for college and instead of saving for their future, they spent money on making memories. They took trips to Disneyland, from Oregon, every year. They had jet skies and lived on the Willamette River, just south of Portland, Or. Thankfully, for their family, paying for college education worked out. I’m not advocating that their decision is right for everyone, but I do like the idea that every family needs to create epic memories with their kids.

For me, growing up, my epic memories were our yearly camping trips to Yosemite. In face, to this day, I would say that Yosemite is my favorite place in the world. I have fond memories of swimming in the river, eating at the village, camping in the housekeeping units, floating down the river, hiking, discovering hidden falls, eating ice-cream at happy isles, biking the valley, star-gazing from glacier point after sunset and camp fires! When I reached my teenage years, my parents let me bring 2-3 friends along every year. We swam in the bottom of Yosemite Falls everyday. That will knock the wind out of you!

It’s important, through the crazy-busy lives we live, to take time out. To hang out with your kids. To give them some undivided attention. To take trips, when you can. To make epic memories together. Because one day, that’s what they’ll remember. A childhood full of epic memories, is a happy childhood. It’s a childhood I’d like to pass on.

In that spirit, yesterday morning, my son and I made a movie entitled Epic Battle: Good vs. EvilEnjoy.

We made this movie using an app called Directr. It’s great because they provide you a storyboard with sketches and the music. Essentially you just follow the instructions to make a great little movie.

So, go, create epic memories with your kids. They don’t happen on their own. You’ve got to make time.