Guy weekend…..

Because I was traveling most of last week, I spent Friday and the weekend with the family. After a 15 hour, multi-state drive, there is nothing like just hanging out, doing a few chores and not having much on the agenda. So that’s what I did Friday.

Saturday was another story and shaped up to be a father/son day. Which, interestingly, turned into a father/son weekend.

It started out with my routine Saturday morning men’s accountability group. My son, for some reason, wanted to join me early. I think it was the hot chocolate at Starbuck’s that motivated him. So we were off at 6:30am. All the guys were there and we were able to cover a lot of ground in the short hour we had together. There are times we can go long but today we had to be out of there at 8am sharp so we could make D’s Cub Scout “God and Family” class at 9am.

—– Tangeant on —–
It is challenging navigating our world today. Today’s society and media provide plenty of distractions and temptations to wander from the narrow path (check out Matthew 7:13-14) and we need all the support we can get to ensure we are doing what God has called us to do. Therefore, I find it important that you surround yourself with Godly men or women who can encourage, uplift, and correct you in a loving and Scripturally sound way. In essence, people that know you well enough and love you enough to call you on your crap. And we all have crap, and unless checked, we can end up believing the lies we tell ourselves — reading our own press. Having an accountability group provides the anchors for our tent when the wind blows.
—–Tangeant off —–

With accountability done, D and I headed to his Cub Scouts “God and Family” class. This is a 6 week class given by the Scout sponsor church youth pastor that deepens their understanding and importance of God as the foundation of the family. The youth pastor has a good rapport with the Scouts and they are engaged and have fun.

After that, D and I headed home to put the final touches on our pinewood derby cars. The Scout Pinewood Derby Races were Saturday evening and we had a few minor adjustments to make which included a stop by the Scout Shop to pick up a few things. It was nice to spend some time in the garage with D hanging out and watching the Speed Channel cover the NASCAR Daytona activities.

Our cars complete and tested, D went over to a friend’s house while I caught a catnap — literally. The cat sat on top of me in the sun while we both napped. It provided me the rest I needed to make it through the rest of the day.

The pinewood derby races were fun. Our cars were definitely more competitive than last year. D even said “I didn’t come in last every time”. Pretty cool lesson to learn because he was getting rewarded by the fruits of his labor. We worked hard on sanding and polishing each axle and wheel to reduce friction. He ended up getting 2nd place among all the Webelos 1 and 2s. I was proud of him.

Because of the pinewood derby, D and I missed joining my wife and the girls at Saturday service. So we attended the late Sunday service — a first for both of us. But it worked out nicely because it allowed us to leave afterwards to grab some lunch at our favorite Mark’s Feed Store and then come back at 2pm for a father/son activity. Our church is having a father/son learning session once a month for the next year. It will teach the sons man skills like tying knots, navigating, emergency car repairs, rock climbing, and archery. They combine those practical skills with Bible verses and applicable lessons like is called upon in Deuteronomy 6:7-9. I think it is a great idea and I hope we can make time for each one. In fact, I might add a few additional ones with my son.

After returning home, I put on the last laps of the NASCAR Daytona 500 in the garage and D hung out with me while we worked on his bike and cleaned up a few things. All in all, it was a great guy weekend and we both really enjoyed all the time and male bonding together.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

NASCAR has begun…..

The 2011 season of NASCAR has officially started with the running of the 53rd Daytona 500 today. I recorded it due to some church stuff going on, but I made it home with about 75 laps to go so I watched it in the garage while getting some stuff done. My son hung out with me and we did some guy stuff along with working on his bike as the laps ticked off.

As it got down to the few remaining laps left, things started getting crazy — as they normally do at the end of the 500. I have had the Daytona speed week on TV while in the garage this last week and caught interviews and summaries. One kid that caught my eye was Trevor Bayne. He is a Sprint Cup rookie and hails from down the street in Tennessee. In his interview he brought up his Christian faith which immediately bubbled him up on my list of favorite NASCAR drivers. It would be interesting to watch this new 20 year old in this highly competitive sport of stock car racing.

So fast forward to the last handful of laps of the Daytona 500. Trevor and another favorite of mine, David Ragan, were paired up helping each other, at times, leading the race. It was cool to see two young racers with zero cup wins between them lead a pack of hungry veterans who have won before. On a restart, David Regan dropped down low and broke a NASCAR rule I didn’t know existed and he was black flagged a lap. Couple this with a wreck and you had Trevor leading for a green, white, checker finish. He was able to fend off some awesome drivers to cross the finish line first making him the youngest Daytona 500 driver. He didn’t even know how to get to victory lane which was pretty funny. But the best thing was his post-race interview and acknowledgement of God.

Fox interviewer — You are a Daytona 500 winner. Has it sunk in?

Trevor Bayne — No. I keep thinking I’m dreaming; I really do. I mean, I, man, we said a prayer before, you know, we pray a lot, and we expect a lot of things but this just shows how powerful God is. Man, I am so thankful for the job that these guys did on this race car because its unbelievable. I mean, this thing is….our first 500, are you kidding me? To win our first one, our second ever cup race. I mean this is just incredible. I can’t thank the guys that worked with me all day enough. I mean, there were 10, 15 different drivers that pushed us. Carl helped us there to get across the line. I don’t know what happened with David there that one point but, wow, this is unbelievable! I mean, these guys, Ford, Ford Motorcraft, the Wood Brothers. How cool is it to see the Wood Brothers back in victory lane. You got Leonard over here, he is the man. And, uh, you know, I just, it’s unbelievable. Thanks to Sprint and everybody for the series. Thanks for the fans that are out here. I mean, I’ve never been to a racetrack with this many people here and to win on this kind of platform is just incredible.”

And to also hear Carl Edwards commend Trevor as a really good guy was cool. Looks like I need to go get some #21 Trevor Bayne stuff.

Congratulations, Trevor! What an exciting Cinderella story.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Mobile ministries…..

I am on the road — first for business travel Monday and Tuesday, and yesterday and today for personal business. Between yesterday and today I will have driven 20 hours and over 1000 miles.

I enjoy road tripping and was able to spend all yesterday with a dear friend of mine in wonderful conversation while seeing our great country. Today I am on the way home and currently at a Chick-Fil-A in Arkansas. I love this company not only because of their great food, but because of their values and their unashamed claim of Jesus. Because I was road tripping, in each Chick-Fil-A men’s room I have been in I have heard Christian music. What a simple way to reach those who need the message and encouragement (which is all of us). Additionally, I have been listening to K-LOVE. If you don’t know, KLOVE is a Christian radio station that is nationwide through a network of local radio stations. Throughout my driving I have been able to jump from radio station to radio station listening to encouraging words and uplifting music. Again, what a simple wonderful way to get the message out to those who need it. Go check it out yourself at www.klove.com – you can even stream what I will be listening to for the next 10 hours and 3 states.

THANKS Chick-Fil-A and K-LOVE for being lights to our dark world!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Prayer for Harley Davidson…..

2/15/11 – DFW airport, Terminal B

I had cozied up to the free internet terminal courtesy of Clear Channel to burn through loads of work email that continue to pour in every time I am on the road for business. I had been through three 1700 second cycles (designed to kick you off the free internet network after 1700 seconds specifically to prevent folks like me from setting up camp for long durations) before a bearded man took up residence to my right. We had not spoken nor made eye contact; not unusual for a busy international airport like DFW. Several of our neighbors packed up their tech gear – laptops, cell phones, chargers and the like – and departed for their gates and destinations. Beardman and I were the only ones left and he made a comment about the free internet being great for long duration layovers. I agreed and asked him where he was going to. He was headed to Houston to see his daughter who was having a surgery. He did not look frazzled or worried and later in the conversation I found out that she had a bone marrow transplant last year and that this was just a follow up surgery. She was doing well and he had decided to come over from Germany to be by her side. He had an eight hour layover which landed him next to me sucking off the free internet. However, between the 28.33 minute timer (remember the 1700 seconds) and the very uncomfortable, hard stools (more effective than the cutoff timer) we both wrapped things up. As he was leaving, I told him that I would put his daughter in my prayers. He thanked me and said her name was Harley – Harley Davidson. So I am praying that Mr. Davidson’s daughter will heal quickly and come through the surgery with strength. Additionally, that father and daughter can enjoy their time together and he can travel home safely.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Grabbing a bite to eat…..

I am traveling this week and on this Valentine’s night I was alone in Shreveport, Louisiana. Actually, technically I was not alone because there are two people from my company I am collaborating with for a partnering presentation today. But I was alone on Valentine’s evening away from my Valentine who is back with the kids in Kentucky. Babe, I love you!

But that aside, the three of us had an interesting time trying to find a place to eat last night. You see, it hadn’t immediately occurred to us that it was Valentine’s Day and mobs would be swarming out into every eating establishment yesterday evening increasing the competition for vittels headed to my hungry stomach.

We first called one of the nicest steak houses in town. The fellow co-worker who had been to Shreveport before knew of theplace and called ahead to make reservations or to see if we could eat at the bar. They were completely booked and pretty much hung up on him. We then walked over to a local casino to hit their very nice steak house. No dice, no open tables, no getting in without reservations. Well, that seemed acceptable because it was also one of the nicer places in town. We were just business travelers trying to eat, not romantic couples who had planned ahead.

We then hit the local developing boardwalk along the Mississippi River. Plenty of places to eat there. We passed by Cold Stone Creamery because, while we didn’t need reservations, it was still packed and none of us wanted ice cream for dinner. My co-worker who had been there before stated that he had never seen the place so busy, especially on a weeknight. It seems everyone was out treating their sweetheart while we struggled to get a bite to eat.

Another place there, Saltgrass Steak House, had a waiting time of 30 minutes. Not bad for 7:30pm and we threw our hats in the ring and decided to walk further down the boardwalk to see if we could “upgrade” and get in anywhere else, knowing that it would be our backup. Along the boardwalk, we came upon Hooters. I cracked myself up because I imagined the place pretty much empty except for a bunch of single guys dreaming they could find their valentine there. I also laughed because I said to my co-workers “What pathetic guy would take his sweetheart to Hooters on Valentine’s Day?”

I was right, there were no couples in there, just a few guys hanging out.

We finally made some grub headway when we were able to walk into Joe’s Crab Shack and not have to wait. Unfortunately, the wait was in the middle and on the back end because we were seated in the patio (it was nice outside) and our waitress tended to neglect us. Again, we all thought it a bit funny that we just wanted a meal because we were traveling and we had to compete with all these other people out there on one of the two most busiest “go out to eat” days (Mother’s Day being the other).

I hope you had a nicer meal with your sweetheart last night. Because remember, it’s not the meal, it’s the companionship.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Love…..

With it being Valentine’s Day, I thought I would post a Scripture verse about love. Now we need to remember, that God’s love — unconditional, unfailing, never ending, perfect — is MUCH different than the Hallmark, diamond commercial, See’s candy, 1-800-FLOWERS, Victoria’s Secret kind of commercial love of the world. We have bastardized the word love — we use it for many levels. Not just the “I love you”, but “I love my car”, “I love the Dallas Cowboys”, “I love Dr Pepper”, “I love Survivor”, “I love In N Out Burger”, “I love”, “I love”, “I love”. The word has lost its true meaning.

Additionally, we have allowed Eros love — lust — to come to mean love. I like how the ancient Greeks had different words for love. Agape love was the unconditional or sacrificial love – like a parent would have for a child. And like God has for us. I believe this is the most important kind of love.

Eros love was the passionate, sensual love for a lover or spouse. This is the love we have warped into lust and the love that predominately owns our commercial Valentine’s Day.

Philia is the brotherly love (hence the city of Philadelphia being the city of brotherly love) that we have for dear friends and comrades. This is a love that is genuinely there but, especially among men, is shied away from due to the “gayness” factor. You don’t hear many guys saying “I love you” unless it is father/son. That is too bad in our society today. I can truly say that there are guys that I philia love — men who in my life are very important, and not just my Dad.

And while agape and philia love are very important, and probably more common in our everyday lives, isn’t it interesting that our commercial, media society have bombarded us with eros love — or the lust version of it.

The love in the verses below is the agape love. It is what we are called to do to the world — to love it — unconditionally, sacrificially, no matter what people think, and no matter how we are treated. And while we frequently fail, we should reset our minds to think in terms of this love — the perfect love modeled by Jesus.

And I am going to quote a few different versions of the same verse because I think they give it some very nice color.

1 Corinthinans 13:13

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – NIV

“But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” – The Message

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – New King James

Happy Valentine’s Day!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

A nice evening…..


Tonight I have planned a very nice, romantic evening with my lovely bride. The Christian radio station I am a fan of, WJIE, is hosting a Sweetheart Dinner downtown. They have a wonderful meal serenaded by a few talented Christian artists. I have always wanted to go and this year our accountability small group purchased a table so we are all going. I’ll get dappered up in a monkey suit or something and my wife will look gorgeous. It will afford us a nice time away with great company, delicious food, and wonderful music. This year Big Daddy Weave and Aaron Shust are playing. I have been looking forward to it and now it’s here.

Call it my pre-emptive Valentine’s Day strike. We aren’t able to go out on Monday night so this will be nice.

Happy pre-Valentines Day, babe!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Bucket list item…..

I blogged about this before but every time I see this video I am in awe. In 10 years, once my job rearing my youngest is closer to completed, I am going to go do this. I have to because it is my Norwegian heritage. And then I would have my “E” (as in B.A.S.E. jumping which stands for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth).

wingsuit base jumping from Ali on Vimeo.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Funny perspectives from my son…..

Yesterday there were a couple of times when my son’s perspective just cracked me up.

The first was in the evening as I was doing my cardio on the elliptical machine. I just recently put it together and there was a clicking sound during one of the forward motion strokes. I slowed down and leaned down to try to zero in on where the sound was coming from so I could fix it. My son happened to be down in the basement with me and looked over. Because I had slowed down and was leaning over, he said “Come on Dad, you can do it!”

Gotta love the honest encouragement.

The second was as I was perusing Facebook. My wife posted the status update below:

D started drum lessons and is setting up his drums in his bedroom. I told him it would be better in the basement because of the noise. His response, “don’t worry mom I’ll wear earplugs.”

He cracks me up!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

This week is…..

National Marriage Week

Marriage is a very important gift given to us by God. Through it He ordained the commitment of a man and a woman to join together as one for love and for the raising of a family. In this healthy union, joy, empowerment, and fulfillment are experienced by both the wife and husband.

If you are lucky, like me, you have several successful models of couples to follow. I can count my grandparents, my folks, my in-laws, and many treasured friends as role models of support and encouragement. I know what marriage should look like and what I, as a man and husband, need to contribute to my marriage for it to persevere, flourish and produce fruit.

If you are someone whom marriage has had a negative impact — your folks were divorced, or you have been through a divorce — get out there and find a role model couple whose marriage has withstood the test of time. You will also benefit if you surround yourself with marriage committed couples. I can tell you that in my day to day living it is nice to be in the midst of great family and friends who have the same marriage ideals as I do (and will hold me accountable to them).

Here is the link to http://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org/

Additionally, last year I wrote a post on marriage and aggregated quite a few online marriage resources. I am regurgitating them below because of the importance of the topic.

Fireproof – The Movie

Fireproof Couple Resources

Fireproof Your Marriage

Marriage 911

Christian Counseling of Mansfield

Focus on the Family – Free Marriage Booklets

Crosswalk Christian Resources

Christian Marriage Today

Marriage Rocks

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net