Shoes…

“Mama always said there’s an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes. Where they’re going, where they’ve been. I’ve worn lots of shoes. I bet if I think about it real hard, I could remember my first pair of shoes. Mama said they’d take me anywhere. She said they was my magic shoes.” – Forrest Gump

To get the boys ready for school, one thing that we needed to get for both of them was new shoes. To make things easier on them, and on us, we found Sketchers that are really great. No string to tie. Only a velcro strap to pull tight and it kept the laces secure.

One day, the brand of shoes, the type of shoes and probably the color of shoes will matter to them a lot more than they do now. They did for me when I was in school. First it was canvas Nike hightops. Then if you were really awesome, it was leather Reebok hightops. (man did those ever smell up a room after a few weeks). Now that I’m a little older and have to pay for my own shoes, it’s still Nike or Reebok but now its the most comfortable shoe at the best price. No $150 Jordans for me.

Even my dad had his favorite type of shoe but they were not the style for me. I remember he had the “ankle boots” that zipped up the side. It had a big heel and the shoes looked HUGE. I can remember putting on his shoes and trying to walk in them when I was younger, without much success. After all, my dad had some big shoes for me to fill.

For the past 11 weeks, I have been blessed to be a dad. I am still trying to fill those zip up ankle boots and be a dad, like my dad was to me, and in these short few weeks, I have realized a few things about boys…

they are great, but they can push you to your limit…

they know the rules of the house, but often forget them….

they know right from wrong, but still do what they want to forgetting the consequences and what is lost or taken away….

they can make you so mad, but that hug and I love you in the morning wipes the slate clean…

I want to treat them like they are mature adults and give them everything, but they are only young boys….

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” – Matt. 7:11

I have to ask myself, am I talking about the guys that we have taken in, or am I thinking about myself and my brother when we were younger. I’m sure that we pushed a few buttons in our days as well. I KNOW we knew right from wrong, truth from a lie, but yet we still did what we wanted to and tried everything to get out of being in trouble.

I have to think that this applies to life, not just the house that I grew up in or the house the boys are growing up in now. I have to know that we all, myself included, push God’s buttons, a LOT. I have to know that we know the rules to live by but yet we still forget the consequences and live our lives the way that we want to.

It scares me to think of what blessings in life that I have missed out on because God took something away from me because of a choice that I made.

I do know, regardless of what I have done, the choices that I have made, a simple hug and I love you, and asking God to forgive me, wipes the slate clean as well, just as it did with my mom and dad.

Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Dear God,

I often wonder what it is like to walk in another person’s shoes. What it is like, to live their life and face their decisions and situations each day. Help me to be the parent that my mom is knowing that I can go to her in any situation. Help me to be the dad to our boys, like my dad was for me. Help me to reflect You in the lives of the boys and to fill the big shoes that I have to fill, regardless of if they are those ankle boots that zip up….

Keith

Let God write the story…

Yesterday was a huge day for me and Stephanie. Yesterday the boys had their first day of school. One started third grade while the other started second. For the past week leading up to this day, we have bought school clothes, new shoes, school supplies, lunch boxes, backpacks, etc. We have been encouraging the boys to be ready, be excited and anything that we could say or do, to help them transition back in to “big school.”

 

It was a day that sometimes, I thought would never come. Sometimes I let the world get the best of me by telling me over and over, that I would never be a dad. I thought my life, my story would have an ending much different than what God had in mind.

 

Let God write the story…Now I’m a dad of 2 great boys who act a LOT like me and my brother did growing up.

 

There was a time in my life, I never thought I would have a family. After making a mess of my life, moving away from my family, letting bad relationships and working all the time take over my life, I thought my life, my story would have an ending much different than what God had in mind.

 

Let God write the story…For the past 9 years, I have been married to a wonderful wife.

 

After leaving the church where we both felt was ours, where we were both plugged in to ministry, where a lot of people loved us, I thought my life, my story would have an ending much different than what God had in mind.

 

Let God write the story…God put us on staff in youth ministry

 

When we left youth ministry, where we were making a difference in the lives of the 9-10 youth that we had in our small group, I thought my life, my story would have an ending much different than what God had in mind.

 

Let God write the story…God made me an Associate Pastor

 

When God called my dad home, and we tried to sell our home, move to west Georgia so that we could take care of my mom, I thought my life, my story would have an ending much different than what God had in mind.

 

Let God write the story…God gave me a mom who lets me take care of her, on her terms when she will let me. He kept us where we are, but close to both of our families so that when we can or when they need it, we can be there to help them.

 

I don’t know what the future holds for the four of us, but I know, God is writing our story. He knows the plans, the story, that HE has for us.

 

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

I do know, that God is still here, He still loves me and He still answers prayer. I’m just along for the ride in His story for my life.

 

Dear God,

I confess that I often wondered if I would ever see my kids go to their first day of school. Not that You couldn’t give me a family, but more was it in Your plans for me. You have blessed me more than I deserve with the family that You have given me. Thank You for the story that You have written for my life.
Keith

A Different World…

The world as I knew it nine weeks ago, has completely changed. Nine weeks ago the life that Stephanie and I were living was much simpler that it is today. After all, it was just the two of us. She was able to do what she wanted and I was able to do the same.

Then God showed up and answered a prayer that we had been praying for almost a decade…

On May 25th our family grew by two. The two boys that we had done respite care several times, including Mother’s Day, would now call our home, theirs, and our lives will never be the same again.

Since then, a lot of adjustments and anew routine for them, and us, has had to be made. Now, the mornings start off with me getting ready for work, then its time for them to brush teeth, get dressed, eat Fruit Loops and watch tv just before we take them to daycare.

On my way home, I pick the guys up and for the next hour, its just the dudes hanging out until Steph gets home and we all eat dinner, together.

A lot of sacrifices have also been made. Nine weeks ago, I was the Associate Pastor at Gracepointe Church. Since then I have had to step away from Gracepointe to focus on what is best for my family and the adjustments that we are making. Before the boys came, Stephanie was able to focus on her passion to write. She has had to sacrifice her time as well to focus on our family. Instead of spending time at night reading or watching tv, now there are baths to take, teeth to brush and stories to be read just before prayers together as a family.

At the same time, we put our house on the market in the hopes that we would move to West Georgia but after looking in those areas, we haven’t found an area as nice and as convenient as the one we have now so instead of buying a new home and remodeling it, we are staying put and remodeling our home in Dallas. So on top of everything going on and the adjustments that we are making, we have turned our house up side down as well.

We have also had to learn how to be parents. How to know when to discipline and when to look the other way. How to make sure there are plenty of cereal and chocolate milk in the house and when to stop by the grocery store on the way home. Fortunately, both of us have amazing parents to learn from their examples that we probably took for granted growing up, but now are priceless to both of us.

We still have a lot to learn and make mistakes every day. We are still trying to find the balance between taking care of and providing for our family, spending time with each other and also having our own time. I haven’t been able to play guitar, work on the computer or do some of the things that I love to do, (like keep this story updated) as much as I was able to do before, but getting those hugs throughout the day, and hearing  an 8 & 9 year old say “I love you” makes it all worth it.

Sure it’s a different world now, but I wouldn’t change it for anything….

Dear God,

I never thought I would appreciate those times in my life when my parents told me “no” or gave me a gift unexpected. I never thought I would have the opportunity to think back on what Mom & Dad taught me and use it in my own family. Thank you for the life you have given me, the family you have given me and the lessons in life that You have shown me. Help me each day to be a better child of God, husband, dad, son and brother to those special to me.

Keith