Tuesday, December 25, 2012

You Might Die Trying

Merry Christmas to everyone! My family had our Christmas this past weekend and it was great to have family around and laugh at each other and celebrate. We had to celebrate early as I have a journey to make today. The great thing is that our family doesn't have any deeply herald traditions. With family being spread all over the world we are just grateful to get (mostly) everyone together at ANY time.
So, I sit here in the Jamaica feeling so very blessed to be able to go to Jamaica today! I realize I often take for granted the fact that I get to spend a couple weeks out of the winter in a tropical paradise. I also am blessed to LOVE what I do and I get paid to do it! I realize that not everyone has that as their lot in life. And most of all I am blessed to be doing all this to serve God and to love His created people...they just happen to live where it's warm. ;)
I've also realized over the past month or so that I've been holding back. I feel like I'm missing out on my full potential and everything that God wants for me.
One of my favorite Dave Matthews songs is called...you guessed it, "You Might Die Trying". Metaphorically speaking, (duh, that's what songs do!) a verse says: 
If you close your eyes
Because the house is on fire
You think you couldn't move
Not until the fire dies
The things you never did
Cause you might die trying
Well...my metaphorical house has been on fire for some time now. I can't really say how long or even what it is that's been burning, but I've suddenly started feeling the heat and smelling the smoke. I've been afraid to move forward in life; held back by something, waiting for it to be fulfilled before I can move on. I really have been feeling like it's time to move forward, trusting that it is God's will and the right direction for my life.
So starting in early February I will basically move to Jamaica for about 6 months. I don't know what God has in store for my life during this time but I have a feeling it's something huge! During this time I will get to work very closely with our Jamaican church partners and really get to know the communities and pastors better. I'll be able to solidify the already established relationships with our pastors, staff, orphanages, infirmaries and various other ministries. I'll be able to identify the deeper needs that are hard to identify via email and phone calls. Overall this time will only strengthen the ministry that Praying Pelican has already established.
Follow this link as I serve with 9 others in Hopewell, Hanover, Jamaica this week. Our primary goal is to build and stock a chicken coop for 200 chickens. This will provide an individual and/or the community income, food, and stability for many years.
So during the next two weeks while I'm in Jamaica and during the next month as I prepare to go, please pray for strength, wisdom and clarity. Pray that I'll be able to use this experience to live life more fully and not live with fear of what the future holds. The only sure thing is that I'm not going to die in this burning house. I'm going to take the risk of living.
"You'd be as good as dead, cause you might die trying"

Monday, December 10, 2012

Daddy Issues

This past month has been crazy! I've been to Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis, Louisville and Chicago as well as back home to Bloomington, IL. But it's been an awesome month and although much of the travel was for work, it was to be with people and to talk about what I love. So very much worth it!

With all that travel and about 3 straight weeks of not "working" (sitting here at my desk working), it's time to play catch up (or ketchup or catsup if you prefer). So on this cold Monday it's time to tell the world what's been going on!

I would have to say one of the most impacting times over the past month was my time in Dallas. I went there for a convention but scheduled in some time to see my dad whom I hadn't seen in about 5 years. If you remember my post from October 1, "Parenting Advice for a Single Guy!?", I had realized that a relationship with my dad is healthy and something that I needed to pursue.

So looking back on that post I am realizing that of the 4 stages (nursing, king/queen, coach, and friend) I hadn't ever really experienced ANY of these with my dad. Funny thing. . . I found myself acting like a kid around him at first. It was the weirdest thing! I would want to jump on him, hit him, and just play around. And immediately I recognized it and had to stop myself. That's what we always did when we would see each other over the years and so that was my first inclination. So basically I had to skip all the steps (partially consciously) and go straight to the "friend" stage. 

And you know what?? It was GREAT! I had never really spent a good amount of time with my dad as an adult. I ended up staying with him about 3 days and it was one of the best things I could have done for myself. 

I can think back over the years and I have said OUT LOUD that I didn't want to be like my dad. He's made some poor choices in life (haven't we all!?), but the funny thing is that I never really knew what it was/wasn't that I didn't want to be like. All I knew was that his absence in my life had created this inner turmoil that I still can't explain. This turmoil still exists, but I at least feel like I have a better understanding of it. Turns out we are very much alike. We think the same way about the very basics of life. About treating people with respect. About helping others. Granted, we are very different in many ways also, but I realized that I was OK with turning out to be like him. I'll learn from his mistakes and make a few different choices, but overall he's not the "bad guy" I always thought he was. 

I don't know how to explain it but I left Dallas with a little touch of pride and a little more self-esteem and a little more confidence. I guess those are things you get from your dad? 

I also got to spend some time with my younger brother, Evan! What a great kid! (kid? he's 26!) He's dealt with way too much for someone his age and he's a trooper! I haven't had much of a relationship with him either in the past. That's something I want to change too!

Keep in touch for some breaking news coming soon. . .