A day of thanks…..

In this day of Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday), it is very important for us to pause and look around at our blessings. If you are reading this, right out of the gate I can count several blessing for you without even knowing your specific situation — the fact you can read, you have some type of electronic device, have internet access, your heart is beating and you can breath, and you have some type of autonomy in the fact you can spend some of your discretionary time perusing the internet. So suffice it to say that you are enjoying many things you can be thankful for — and I am sure there are many more you could identify without breaking a sweat.

On Facebook throughout November, I posted a “thanks” a day as a part of the 30 days of gratitude. Below are all the posts and only begin to scratch the surface at all I am grateful for. I could easily do this for a whole year instead of just a month.

Thankful day #1: I am thankful the creator of the universe loves me enough to send his son Jesus. Thank you God!

Thankful day #2: thankful for our 2nd amendment rights that give us the tools to uphold all the other amendments (and in honor of the 6 new concealed carry applicants who passed the class that was hosted here at our place).

Thankful day #3: so blessed we live in a country where we can openly and freely worship Jesus! — at Southeast Christian Church.

Thankful day #4: I am thankful for a good job with a good company that allows me to provide for my family. Prov 14:23

Thankful day #5: although I should have posted this Friday (Nov 1) on our anniversary, I will do so today. I am so thankful that God blessed me with the gift of a Proverbs 31 woman — one who loves and serves her family, who nurtures, who wipes the snotty noses and cooks the meals that nourish us, who shuttles here and there, who teaches, who clothes and quilts, and who prays and worships.

Thankful day #6: I thank God that I got a “two-fer”, a buy one-get one free in my marriage to my wife. With that wonderful union and commitment, I received a wonderful gift from God in the form of a beautiful little 4 year old girl. That little girl who I adopted stole my heart and has blossomed into a smart, talented woman of Jesus — beautiful on the inside and outside. R – I love you!

Thankful day #7: so thankful for my first born K! I saw the crown of your head before you were born and I did not leave your side for 8 hours (sorry wifey). You are my punkin and have had my heart ever since. You are such a talented, sweet, beautiful, and observant daughter of God. May He lead you to your niche in this world. I love you!

Thankful day #8: I thank God for my namesake and my only son. D, you are so special and I want the world for you. I know and pray you will grow into the gentle warrior God is calling you to be. I love you!

Thankful day #9: I am thankful for the places God has taken me to live — Texas, California, and Kentucky. Each one unique and the exact place I needed to be at that time.

Thankful day #10: I am thankful for a safe, happy, and encouraging childhood being raised by loving parents who are still together to this day.

Thankful day #11: Thankful for our veterans and military who serve and sacrifice to keep us safe from evil in the world, protect our freedoms, and guard the Constitution.

Thankful day #12: I am thankful for my physical health. While I am not 20 years old anymore, occasionally experience old injury pain, and could stand to lose a few pounds, I am disease free and healthy. I thank God for continued breaths and heartbeats.

Thankful day #13: I am so thankful for my parents. My Mom and Dad sacrificed to raise me and my sister (and many others transitioning though — exchange students, relatives, friends, etc). They instilled faith, values, morals, work ethic, and many other benefits into us that have paid dividends in our adult lives. They raised God-fearing, tax-paying, community-serving, disciple-making kids that this country needs more of. It is my plan to pass this on to my kids and do the same. Thanks Mom and Dad for all you did as parents. I love you!

Thankful day #14: I am thankful for “anchor points” in my life. These people are more than a mentor. They are important people who have poured into me, who spend time with me, who I can learn from, who love me for who I am yet push me to be more, and who provide perspective on all the important things in life (spiritual, relational, physical, emotional, financial). An anchor point is a more intimate relationship than a mere mentor – they are someone who “anchors” you…..and you can have multiple ones you can knit together to create your personal safety net.

Thankful day #15: I am thankful for prayer; that we can communicate with our Creator directly. That we can lift up our pains, reveal the secrets of our hearts, confess our sins, cry out in despair, and seek out God’s guidance. Christ tore the curtain and bridged the gap and he intercedes for us (Hebrews 4:13-15 and 6:19-20). Jesus, thank you for hearing my feeble prayers. I am weak but You are strong.

Thankful day #16: I am thankful for the nature that God has surrounded me with out here in the country. And to hunt on my own land is a special treat. Not only because of the food provided, but the journey — that included a beautiful owl that landed on the tree next to us, multiple geese squadrons flying by so close you could hear the air off their wings, a hawk setting off a cacophony of squirrel alerts, and coyote yips in the distance. God made it all and you must be out in it to truly enjoy it.

Thankful day #17: I am thankful for storms in life, physical and otherwise. They bring rain, the winds blow and test us, and they let us know there is something bigger than us. For the believer, storms also force us to trust in our Creator and stake our claim on the solid rock of Christ. Prayers for all of those affected today by violent weather storms in the midwest.

Thankful day #18: I am thankful for the 2nd Amendment. If you like or enjoy any of the other amendments or any of the Constitution for that matter, you cannot dismiss the 2nd Amendment which backs it all up. None if it means anything if it can be easily taken away — and the 2nd Amendment prevents that.

Thankful day #19: I am thankful for friends who are in my life now, as well as those from the past (and those in the future). If you are reading this on Facebook, YOU are one of those. Our lives might have intersected for a very short time or you might know my entire life story — either way God meant it to be for a reason. Thanks for who you are!

Thankful day #20: I am thankful for forgiveness, reconciliation, and second (and third and fourth…..) chances.

Thankful day #21: I am thankful for God’s handiwork that He so frequently shares with us in the form of sunrises, sunsets, rainbows, and other spectacular forms of creation. This picture is from this morning.

Thankful day #23: I am thankful no one noticed I missed day #22.

Thankful day #24: I am thankful for the skills, talents, and gifts God gave me…..and the parents, teachers, and mentors who taught me to leverage those skills for the better of my family and others around me.

Thankful day #25: I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ. I place my hope and trust in the salvation of Jesus and knowing I have dear friends who have done the same is such a valuable resource in keeping me an encouraged, inspired, and accountable disciple.

Thankful day #26: I am thankful for the many blessings of enjoyment that God gives us (that He didn’t have to). Such wonderful things as a sunrise/sunset, a butterfly fluttering, powerful volcanoes, the sweet taste of strawberries, perfumed flowers, soft kitten fur, birdsongs, human hugs. There are SO many more that I can’t list them all. List your favorite blessings from God in the comment

Thankful day #27: I am thankful for memories that, as I get older, I can replay like a mental VCR. God’s blessings go back quite a ways. ;)

Thankful day #28: On my favorite holiday, I am so thankful for faith, family, friends, food, and football. Happy thanksgiving!!!

Thankful day #29: (added retro) I am thankful for holiday family traditions and that I can serve my wife to make this her favorite season (as a thank you for her serving me on Thanksgiving to make that my favorite day).

Thankful day #30: (added retro) I am thankful, again, for salvation and eternal life through Christ Jesus who God gave as a sacrifice for my sins because of His great love for me. He loves you the same and wants to have a personal relationship with you. Not a seat in a church, not a Sunday check-the-box, but a real, true, fulfilling relationship that will carry you home through anything to heaven.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

A humbling birthday present…..

This was my wife’s Facebook post to me this morning. I am so blessed.

I think the best gift I can give anyone is prayer and since I have no money to buy you that scope you want I am going to (as soon as I am done typing this) go into my peaceful spot and pray for you.
So this is my bday gift to you:

That you walk humbly with God.
That you continue to grow spiritually.
That you be a Disciple and share the gospel.
That you do His will.
That God protect your heart from sinful nature.
That the words you speak build and encourage your family and friends and especially strangers.
That God bless your friendships.
That you be healthy and honor your body.
That you be a man of peace and let the Holy Spirit guide you.
That you always be a man of courage and protect us from evil.
That you be prayerful and ask God for direction, guidance and discernment.
That you always have a servants heart.
That you always put God first, before me or the kids.
That God be glorified in all the ways you serve Him.

And I will praise God for the man that you are, for your hard work that provides for our family, for your extrovert personality that brings me out of my shell, for blessing our marriage and for putting you in my life. You are my Boaz. I love you and dang you look good for being “29″! Happy Birthday!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

If I knew then what I know now…..

Today I started a new volunteer opportunity — a 7 week stint with the Louisville Junior Achievement organization. Every week for the next 7 weeks, I am in a high school class for 45 minutes to teach the JA’s Success Skills module. There were actually 13 business/community volunteers and we all spent time in class today teaching our different classes. It was very different than my normal day and it provided me a unique view into today’s public school teenagers that I don’t normally have.

What it also gave me was a reflection opportunity — if I could convey to those students what I know now, what would be the most important salient points?

  • Learning never stops – it is a lifelong process. School does not define learning and learning does not define school.
  • If you continue an open learning attitude, that alone will catapult you towards success.
  • Attitude determines your altitude.
  • Your youthful outlook, hopefulness and energy can compensate for lack of experience and naivety.
  • Your hair, your clothes, your trends and your accessories don’t matter at all and don’t make you cool.
  • Cool is fleeting. Knowledge is not.
  • Look around at the folks around you. If they aren’t family, you probably won’t see them in 10 years.
  • Trust the wisdom of those older than you but also don’t let them tell you it can’t be done (these are parts of the same coin like heads is to tails).
  • Cherish the time you have — with youth, with family, with friends, with events. It might seem like time is creeping by, but it continues to accelerate until you can’t remember what’s going on.
  • Don’t hang on to anything negative too long (emotions, grudges, friends, thoughts, the past).
  • Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats the combination of a good attitude and hard work.
  • Start your true relationship with Jesus sooner rather than later. Parents dragging you to church doesn’t count. You are now old enough to own it yourself.

I’m sure there are more but those are what came to mind. It made for an interesting exercise. I wonder if I would share this with them next week.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Valentine’s Day holding your hand…..


This morning, for Valentine’s Day, I rushed my wife to the ER at 4am. Two weeks ago she had some fairly invasive surgery and has been recovering since then. She had a week in the hospital and a week at home. She thought she had turned a corner but things worsened and became very serious last night. So an early morning Valentine’s visit to the ER was required.

My dearest wife…..

When I vowed to you many years ago — “to have and to hold,
to love and to cherish,
from this day forward
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health
until death do us part”

I meant it!

I have held your hand when the kids were born. I held your hand when D was in the NICU. I held your hand during your surgeries. I held your hand on your birthday last year in the ER. I held your hand two weeks ago during your recovery. I held your hand this morning on Valentine’s Day in the ER. I hold your hand on the way to the mailbox. I hold your hand every week during communion and prayer. And I will hold your hand walking into the sunset as we both grow old and grey.

I love you and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but by your side.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Happy Anniversary, Mrs. Aslowerpace…..

15 years ago my wife and I quietly slipped away for the weekend and were joined in the legal union of marriage. We would celebrate with family and friends 6 months later so I have the envious position of, as a guy, having to remember two anniversaries — not just one.

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” – Proverbs 18:22

As my wife and I have grown together, joining our journeys together for God and family, I recognize a perspective that can only be seen by looking back and comparing the developing product of our marriage with where it started. And it contains two elements that are critical for a quality marriage — time and hard work. I would compare it to items that are highly sought after for their acquired properties. Items like a fine aged wine; a perfectly shaped mature bonzai tree; a top shelf bourbon. God also has some of these items — but they are much larger. A beautiful, full grown, majestic oak tree; the chiseled valley of Yosemite; the eroded sandstone of the Grand Canyon; the developing islands of Hawaii. All have taken time and hard work to create beauty and value.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:31 and Genesis 2:24 (it’s important enough that God put it in the Bible twice)

Marriage is no different. And in these days of some marriages crumbling faster than a sports season (e.g. – the 72 day Kardashian marriage), we must be willing to seek, pursue, and relentlessly hunt down those two elements of time and hard work. Of course, this assumes the love and the commitment and the forgiveness and the understanding and all of the other necessary qualities that create a strong marriage. However, when we are fighting, when we are discouraged, when we are forlorn, when we are ready to throw in the towel for something easier, it all boils down to hard work. It is hard work to love someone who doesn’t love you. (Jesus did.) It is hard work to forgive someone who doesn’t act like they deserve it or who won’t forgive you back. (Jesus did.) It is hard work to carry it on your own when someone is acting selfishly. (Jesus did.) Let’s face it — marriage is hard work. Unfortunately, that doesn’t sell on Hallmark cards or fit into a 30 second commercial.

Time is the other element critical for a strong marriage. And just as most quality things are not created instantaneously, neither is a strong, quality marriage. Time heals all wounds and time together grows you together. Out on the back property, there is a tree that was growing too close to a barbed wire fence. Over time the tree and the barbed wire fence have grown together. They are now one and cannot be separated from each other. That process did not happen overnight and surely took months and years to develop. I’m sure you have seen other similar examples in nature. And the point is to be well taken. Time is an important element.

I will end with this awesome passage from Proverbs 31. My Godly wife is one of the highest blessings from God that I have received. I cherish it with my life.

Proverbs 31:10-31
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [a] A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Happy Anniversary, Mrs. Aslowerpace! I love you and am so blessed by God He brought you to me!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

God’s Hallmark card to you…..

In some areas of my life I can be very sentimental. I have saved various items from events that have had great impact to me. For example, I have some birthday cards from my grandmas that are no longer alive. I have my grandpa’s hat and pastor stole. I have numerous cards from my wife and kids for many occasions. I even have the plastic hospital bracelet that I had to wear when I brought my daughter K home.

I occasionally break out the cards to read and reminisce. They not only bring me back to the event, but bring back the emotion and feeling of that close time with whom I was sharing the moment. Those cards also help me know that person more. They put their heart into it — whether it was a note on the bottom of a store bought card the specifically selected for me or it was the crayon drawing a creative picture. These allow me a connection with the one who gave me the card. And the card giver gave it out of love.

Those thoughts came to me recently during one of my devotions. And isn’t the Bible like a giant Hallmark card of love from God to us? Scripture can inspire us. It can get us to share a moment. It can bring back an occasion or event. And it can definitely help us to know God better. The words of Scripture provide an insight to the character of God because, after all, He inspired its writing. And with us reading it over and over, much like a favorite card from a loved one, it brings us closer to Him.

So get your Bible and open up God’s card to you. He loves you and He signed it with the cross.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Llama, llama duck…..

This is a pretty funny story — but you’re gonna have to do some linking to get the full effect.

First, go here — http://llamabutchers.mu.nu/archives/164253.php

UPDATE: seems that link might not work — try this…..

It’s a pretty funny utilization of Flash animation — the theme song to “The Llama Butchers” blog.

Anyway, I played it for the kids…..for about a half hour. It’s an addictive tune that sticks in your head like one of those annoying songs that once it gets in there replays through your mind the rest of the day. The liked the high pitched voice, the random lyrics and pictures and the funny duck. Again, go to the link, watch the animation and listen to the tune — this’ll all make more sense.

So I’m at work today and I get a cell phone call from the wife. She took the kids, her sis-in-law and niece to the Louisville Zoo. It seems that they have llamas there so the kids all started singing the song. Then they noticed the pond in the pen…..AND IT HAD DUCKS IN IT! They were so excited and were yelling “LLAMA, LLAMA, DUCK!!!!!”.

It made for a nice break to my conference call. I laughed.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot com

A little less America…..

I believe last week’s Supreme Court decision on the confiscation of private property was a pivotal point in American history because of the usurped power of the average American. We are not as “free” as we think we are. But then again, we have been sliding down this slippery slope for a while now and probably don’t have the gumption to fight it. We would rather be a “kept” people rather than a people who fight for what’s right (see Wednesday’s post on American pussies). I remember a quote that describes a cycle that goes something like:

Revolution leads to independence
which leads to freedom
which leads to opportunity
which leads to prosperity which leads to wealth
which leads to comfort
which leads to sloth
which leads to apathy
which leads to weakness
which leads to reliance
which leads to submission
which leads to oppression
which leads to revolution.

(If someone has the real quote that I tried to convey above, please email it to me.)

I will also quote Thomas Jefferson:

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

People, I believe we have arrived at that point. Short of impeaching the justices who made the majority decision, we are now at the mercy of the judicial branch. In so many aspects of American life, fights that were in the legislative or executive branches have been back-doored to the judicial branch with successful regularity. For example, take California’s Prop 187 which intended to address the swelling costs of illegal immigration. Someone has to pay and the regular California citizen didn’t want it to be them, as was evident in the poll’s victory margin (see http://www.townhall.com/columnists/terencejeffrey/tj20030827.shtml or http://www.ccir.net/REFERENCE/187-History.html). And now we have a private property ruling that allows big bullies — cities, governments and corporations — to mow over the little guy. That puts you and me in the crosshairs. You might not think any of your property or possessions are at risk — that this “doesn’t affect me”. But the minute you let this happen to someone, it can happen to anyone. Luckily, someone has more foresight than I do…..or judge Souter. See this post at Ex-Donkey or the original link here. It is just brilliant!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Lesson #1…..

While the UPS tour I took earlier this week was incredible, informative and an all around good time, the most important thing I took away from the evening didn’t have anything to do about packages. In fact, it didn’t have anything to do with business at all.

Some of the people who joined us for the tour and dinner were from different sites from my company. It was a pleasure to meet them, talk about business, get to know each other’s processes and share best practices. At dinner, talk turned to family and other non-work related topics. I fielded a few questions on my family’s move out from southern California to Kentucky. My standard cookie cutter answers like a slower pace, more time with the family, back to basics, cheaper cost of living — things you have probably already read about and are familiar with throughout the history of this blog. I also shared my recent mantra “My company can get another me in a heartbeat, but my kids can’t get another dad”. That was when a fellow co-worker from one of the other sites shared a gift with me that I will never forget. It was in the form of a story.

My fellow co-worker began with,

“During one holiday period when I worked for a company that manufactured syringes and barrels, I was called in on Christmas Eve day around 11am because a piece of equipment had failed. I did not want to burden my staff with having to come in with it being Christmas Eve and all, so I tackled the problem myself.

At around 2pm I received a call from my daughter asking “Daddy, when are you coming home? It’s Christmas Eve.”

I replied, “I’ll be home soon, honey”.

Well, 2pm turned to 4pm, turned to 6pm. I received another call from my daughter.

She asked, “Daddy, it’s getting late and it’s Christmas Eve. Are you coming home soon?”

I assured her I wouldn’t be much longer.

As work goes, I didn’t get home until 11pm that night missing Christmas Eve. We did get to spend Christmas Day together but two days later she was killed in a car crash.”

My heart dropped to the floor as he continued on. He stated my mantra of “your kids can’t get another dad”, but added a corollary of “you can’t get another child“.

Qualifier: this is an interpretation of the story as told to me directly. Some of the details may not be exact but will not detract from the awesome message it conveys. He also gave me permission to share his amazing story. I thank him for his courage and strength to share his story and loss so others may gain.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net