Archives For family

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.

 

In this episode, Josiah and I explore Woodward Park in Fresno, Ca. It cost us $5 to drive in, but you can always park across the street and walk, run or bike into the park itself. Subscribe to our channel and see more Go.Do 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:

My son, Josiah, has recently become interested in vlogging. You know, video-blogging? So we’re going to start recording every-day adventures. So many people believe life is boring or that there is nothing to do in their hometown. We’ll, we’re going to prove you wrong. So we’re starting to put out some videos under the name “Go.Do” because if you’re bored, all you need to do is go do something. Check out our first video, Go.Do Episode 1: Touch Some Trucks. Feel free to subscribe and we’d love to hear what kinds of adventures you’d like us to try out.

Yesterday I had the honor of baptizing my brother-in-law, Mitch Karraker, at his parent’s home in Clovis, CA. When I first met Mitch, he was a great kid. I’ve always felt that God would use him for big things. He comes from a long legacy of spiritual leaders and sometimes that can be a big burden for people, but not for Mitch. I love his honesty and how he tells his story. It’s a story you may recognize. It’s a story you may resonate with. Maybe it’s your story or the story of your kids, or maybe you’re hoping that’s how it ends, but you aren’t sure yet. Like Mitch said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Thanks for letting me be a part of your baptism, your life, your family and your story.

Unclaimed Property

June 12, 2015 — 5 Comments

Unclaimed-property

I got a letter in the mail that said that I had unclaimed property held by the CA state controller. It was some kind of refund from Apple Inc. It was for $299. I thought to myself, “This could either be legit or a scam… I’ll google it.”

Google has a way of revealing the true nature of these kinds of things. I google phone numbers that call me all the time to see if they are telemarketers and if they are, I block ’em. But I googled. And what I found was pretty amazing.

The CA state controller holds onto unclaimed property (rebates, refunds, interest owed, gift cards unused, etc.) on the behalf of the owner for 7 years. After that, they take the money and use it at the state government level.

So, how do you know if you have money that never made it into your hands?

  1. Go to your state’s website, here’s a mass list for all 50 states. Here’s the CA site.
  2. Type in your last name (or business name) and press search.
  3. Check every city you’ve lived in!
  4. Each unclaimed property will show up and you can claim it!

I just did that and found 3 different claims, totaling over $400.

I had two claims from APPLE INC. and one from MICROSOFT. I searched some friends and family and found that many of them also have unclaimed property, some in the thousands.

I texted a good friend and told him I saw something for him and he did a little digging, he found a couple of hundred dollars as well.

I searched my Dad’s old business and there was a rebate from COMCAST for him too.

It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s your money… so go get it.

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.

If you’re a speaker, you’ve probably listened to yourself or watched yourself give a talk.
If you’re a singer, you’ve probably listened to a recording or watched a video of yourself sing.
If you’re a model (and we all are), then you’ve evaluated a picture of yourself.

This is a humbling and embarrassing practice.

Audio. Video. Photo.

These are all mediums that capture the essence of a moment or a few moments strung together. They seem to freeze-frame the feeling or message of that moment. The hope we all have in recording so much of our lives into these, mostly digital, formats is to somehow be able to relive them and let others in on the secret of that environment.

While there’s nothing real profound here in this little video, I wanted people to get to know me a little, in a simple way. So here are a few things about myself. This video was created mostly for people who are a part of, or investigating the possibility of becoming a part of, Two Cities Church. I hope you enjoy this somewhat embarrassing video of myself.

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.