A blur…..

Today sped by like a blur. Luckily, because of the time change we were able to sleep in a little and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. After that, it was Sunday school and church. My middle daughter sang with all the other little boys and girls which was a nice treat. And the sermon was very thought provoking — career vs. calling. I liked it and it paralleled some thought changes I’ve had in the last year or two where I am a disciple, husband, father and friend foremost and an employee second.

—— WARNING —— TANGENT BELOW ——

I now joke to people that my work is “only what I do on the side”. But it’s not always easy. It can be hard releasing those corporate or career ambitions especially when you see others passing by and enjoying the trappings….er, spoils of their success. I can still sometimes be torn by my plan to provide for, nurture and be involved in my family versus the pursuit of “being all that you can be” and making the most of your life. It’s not often in society that we heroize and glamorize the successes of being a great father and/or parent. We idolize and praise successful businessmen, athletes, politicians, etc however we fail at that when it comes to parenting. Maybe it’s because there are so few really good businessmen, athletes and politicians. Almost everyone is a parent — there are lots of those to go around. Maybe it’s because success defined in parenting is so nebulous; so undefined; so long-term. It is a lot easier to identify who makes the most money, scores the most points or wields the most political power. Maybe it’s because I’m reading the wrong publications. Business mags, tech pubs, and the local paper are not going to gush praises on exceptional parenting skills. Whatever it is, I sometimes wonder if I’m missing something. But then something always happens that yanks me right back to my reality that I’m doing the right thing for this family. A sunset highlighting the fall palette of colors. The kids discovering something new on the property. A view of wildlife out the back windows. I don’t care what people say but you can’t have it all. And I am cashing out my career and corporate successes for the dividends my family will pay back in the years to come.

—— TANGENT END ——

We returned home late from church only to have to get ready for the “Trunk or Treat” back at church later in the afternoon. There was a confirmation during the late service so our normal leisurely afternoon only gave us an hour or two before we had to head back. We rummaged in the basement for some old costumes. My wife got all the decorations for the “trunk” (actually the back of her Tahoe) assembled and loaded. I was able to do a few quick chores around the house before we turned around and headed back to church. Once there, my wife exploded her Halloween decorations throughout the Tahoe while I marveled with the kids at the numerous hot air balloons in the distance. We ended up counting a total of eight. Soon enough more cars showed up filled with costumed people and lots of interesting characters. My favorite were two sisters who were 1) peanut butter and 2) jelly each with a piece of bread on their back. Very creative. Not your typical Wal-Mart costume. A combination of candy securing, hayride, pumpkin painting, story telling, apple bobbing and snack eating took us to what seemed like 9pm. It was a fun time had by all. We loaded the hyper, candy eating, nap lacking, costumed kids into the truck and were floored when the clock read 6:30pm. It seemed like we were there for a long time and coupled with the time change, felt like it was late at night.

We got home in time to catch the end of the Denver-Philly game and then sedated, er….calmed the kids from their sugar highs into bed. Normally our Sundays are quite routine and peaceful, but today we always had something going on.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

A typical Sunday…..

Not much to mention other than it was a typical God, family, football/NASCAR Sunday. Church to kick it off, making salsa with the kids, watching NASCAR with my wife and son (kind of), watching football with my wife topped by a great family dinner. Even the NASCAR finish was interesting — my car won, followed by my wife’s driver, my son’s driver and grandpa’s driver (Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johhson and Bobby Labonte). Too bad my Dallas Cowgirls don’t know how to finish off a game. It wasn’t just this week’s game that they couldn’t finish well — they just dodged the loss in the two weeks prior.

It was funny during the NASCAR race. My wife rubbed it in that her driver was leading (and during most of the race I might add). My son responded by saying that when he played with his NASCAR Hot Wheels that her car wouldn’t win — only his and Daddy’s. That made me laugh.

Something different ———

I haven’t done this on the blog before but this is kinda important and needs your attention. I have a prayer request. My neighbor was hospitalized the week prior with meningitis. He came home last week and everything appeared to be normalizing but yesterday he went back into the hospital with a few blod clots and an infection. Please keep him in your prayers for a full recovery and a return to his wife and two boys.

…..Dan at aslowerpace

Devotional: The Penny…..

One really good habit I have recently gotten into is my nightly devotions. I have a quarterly devotional alongside my Bible on the nightstand. It has been a good tool to wind down the day and to mentally prepare me for the following day. Sometimes, rather than disturb my wife with the reading light if she is already asleep, I will read some devotional material on my PalmPilot (thanks to AvantGo). I came across this one tonight and I was moved enough to pre-post it for tomorrow’s post. I wanted to make sure it didn’t get updated and overwritten when I sync at work tomorrow.

The Penny

Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband’s employer’s house. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway and cars costing more than her house. The first day and evening went well and Arelene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live.

The husband’s employer was quite generous as a host and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so she was enjoying herself immensely. As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband. He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single, darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts.

Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up?

Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her. Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value. A smile crept across the man’s face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see.

She had seen many pennies before. What was the point of this?

“Look at it” he said. “Read what it says”.

She read the words “United States of America”.

“No, not that; read further”.

“One cent?”

“No, keep reading”.

“In God we trust?”

“Yes!” he said.

“And?”

“And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God’s way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!”

When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words “In God We Trust” and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message. It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful! And God is patient.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net