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What Is Your Crazy Day Reset Button?

No Comments 03 February 2012

When your day is going crazy, and there’s so much going on, and everyone is demanding something of you, and you’re frustrated to no end, do you have a reset button?

I do.  Three or four of them, more accurately.  On my computer at work, I’ve got a very short playlist of songs that mentally help take me away from whatever is extremely stressful but ultimately insignificant, and I realize that this is just one issue, just one day, and I’ve been through more.

“Take Me” is a song by The Darins.  When I got the CD, “Take Me” was instantly my favorite, even though it wasn’t a radio single or anything like that.  It just reminded me of the awesome girl from The Darins I’d gone out on a couple dates with, but I was sure was going to stop because why would this smart, gorgeous blonde-haired, blue eyed girl from southern California like some Indiana farm boy.  I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the one song that girl sang lead on on the whole CD.  The song is meant to say to God “Take Me”, but in my head, she was talking to me, and I was like “Heck, yeah, I will take you!” And now we’ve been married about 11 years and counting.

You’ve heard of “1, 2, 3, 4” by the Plain White Tees, right?  Yeah, no one has.  I heard it on the radio exactly twice.  I didn’t really notice it the first time I heard it, but the second time it came on, my two little girls in the back of the car started yelling, “Daddy, daddy, turn it up!  That’s your song!”  Given the counting and the simple nature of the song, the girls had remembered it, and I guess since they felt I made them count all the time, it became a “Daddy Song”.   That was one of the first times they’d come up with something that I hadn’t taught them, and it really occurred to me that they were their own little people, which is sometimes a mind-blowing thing to a dad. So I downloaded it, and it reminds me they’re their own people.

My grandma Nanny Yi was a tremendous jazz pianist and really developed the love of the music Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, Fred Astaire, and other greats, and passed it along to her children all the way down to her great grandchildren.  But the song of hers that really gets me wasn’t from the 40s and 50s. When she passed away, I was put in charge of making a CD of her favorite songs to pass out to family members after the funeral, and one of the aunts asked me to add “Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel.  Seriously?  That’s not exactly an oldie.  But it was something my grandpa frequently asked her to play for him.  After listening to the lyrics, I can see why.  It talks about not needing all these things, just someone to talk to, someone to love just the way you are.  Maybe a little cheesy, but that doesn’t mean its not someone we all need to have.

There are a couple more, but you get the picture.  I can listen to these, and realize that I’m incredibly blessed that I got to actually marry my dream girl, that I have these two little humans that are growing up, and even though the last one makes me miss my grandparents, it’s great to know they loved each other, and set the example of how to love each other.

So what is your reset button? What do you have to rise about the current hectic issue of the day and refocus?

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Giant Trolls and The Week Before Your Mission Trip

No Comments 09 September 2011

Photo: Frighttime Prod.

Have you ever noticed that the week or two before your mission trip is generally terrible?  Everything that can go wrong does- you get sick, your kids get in more trouble than usual and somehow its the worst time ever to miss work.  Have you ever wondered why?

Trolls.  Big, giant, hairy trolls.

The play “Wynter’s Kiss” by Scott Crain of Oracle Productions fame tells the Narnian-esque story of Sir Galen Wynter, an old knight, who, along with a few followers, goes on a quest to find the cure to save his daughter from a deadly plague called “The Red Kiss”.   In the wilderness, they come to an old rope bridge that crosses a ravine.  Some of the men want to try crossing, but Sir Galen declares the bridge is too old, it’ll probably take them out of their way, and its not worth the risk.  Suddenly, a giant, club wielding troll appears and bellows that if any of them try to cross the bridge, he’ll be more than happy to kill them.

The men fall back. Once out of earshot, Sir Galen begins to devise a plan to defeat the giant troll and cross the bridge.

“What!?” one of his men exclaims.  “Five minutes ago you were talking us out of crossing the bridge, but now that there is a giant troll who wants to kill us, all you can think about is how to get across it?”

“Of course,” Sir Galen explains.  “You don’t send a giant troll to protect something worthless.  We have to get across.”

Photo: Disney/Pixar’s Up!

I think our lives can be a lot like this.  We’re fine as long as we stay in our cozy little existence, but as soon as we make a break from our lives and attempt to cross that ravine to serve others in need (and in the process, change ourselves), the devil throws some giant trolls our way.  Going to the Dominican in a couple days and your kid gets strep throat? Troll!  Going to Haiti and your car breaks down to the tune of a few thousand dollars? Troll!  Going to Africa for a year and the people renting your house (and therefore covering your mortgage) decide to back out at the last minute?  Troll!   (if you’ve seen Pixar’s ‘Up’, in my head I say “Troll!” like they say “Squirrel!”)

Of course, knowing that trolls exist doesn’t make them go away, but it does make them easier to fight.  And, like the old knight fighting to save his daughters life, you know that by defeating that troll and crossing that ravine, you might be saving lives as well.

Troll!

P.S. As I was typing this blog about the dangers of going on a mission trip, the phones and internet shut off, threatening to make me lose everything I’d just typed.  Troll!

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Kick Comics: Labradoodle

No Comments 27 May 2011

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NBA All-Star Weekend

No Comments 25 February 2011

I had a great time at All-Star Weekend in LA, and got to run into a few celebs. I was shocked to see that ‘Darryl’ from The Office wasn’t that much taller or heavier than me.  I guess the camera not only adds a few pounds but also a few inches.  He was actually pretty cool.  We asked if we could get a picture with him, and he said “Sure, but I really gotta pee!” You never know if that’s just a blow off line, but sure enough, when came back out on the hallway concourse at The Staples Center, he was looking for us.

But on Sunday morning at the chapel service, I met someone who certainly did live up to the height.

I enjoyed having a 5 minute conversation with 7’1 David Robinson.  He told myself, Eddy, and the chaplain about his efforts with a Bible study group and ministry in San Antonio.  Really nice guy.

It was nice to see my 6’4 brother look short 🙂

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What I’d Tell My 1990 Self (Part 1)

2 Comments 09 September 2010

I recently read an article where the writer put down what he’d tell his 1990 self.  Here is my take (Part 1).

Hello, 1990 Brian.  Here are some things you should know:

Just because a girl looks like another girl you want to go out with, it doesn’t mean its a good idea to go out on a date with her.

In 20 years you still won’t care that much about what car you’ll drive, just that you have one.

Its OK to be a nerd and read stuff no else cares about.  Being cool is overrated.

Being bold means you’re going to embarrass yourself a lot.  Get used to it.  But being bold will get you an awesome wife.

Pay more attention to learning French than to the girls in French class.  You’ll get to go to Paris and Haiti some day.

You’ll make a good choice on a college.  Do a lot while you’re there, but make sure to remember that life is more than trying to have a great resume.

All that time you spend honing your ability to beat box will pay off someday, but not until you have a couple little girls.  They will think it is AWESOME.

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Remembering Our Baby Jonathan

4 Comments 31 August 2010

We lost our son-to-be Jonathan a few weeks ago.  I was having dinner with a group of friends with whom I’d just gone on a mission trip to Haiti, when Krista texted me that she wanted me to come home a little early because something had come up. I got home, and she said that she couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat with the home doppler she had.  The next morning we went in to the doctor’s office, and we were happy to see the heart beat.  And then we didn’t see it.  And then we did see the heart beat again, but faintly.  The doctor said we should go right over to the high-risk OB.  An hour later we were in his office, with the tech running the ultrasound.  After about 30 seconds, the tech stood up and excused herself to get the doctor, which reenacted the scene from about 6 years ago when we lost Zoe.  She couldn’t find the heartbeat, so she was going to get the doctor to tell us we’d lost the baby.  That really sucked.

The baby was big enough that we still had to deliver him. We tried getting into the hospital that day, but since most c-sections are planned for Tuesdays, trying to get into a hospital on a Tuesday or Wednesday for a non-emergency delivery is just about impossible. We were able to get in on Thursday at 7AM.  Krista still had to do an epidural and all the other things that go along with a delivery.  About 10 hours later, our little boy was born.  The nurse cleaned him up and we were both able to hold him.  We have three songs we sing to our girls just about every night, Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves the Little Children, and a little French lullaby.  We wanted to sing to him at least once before we gave him back.

The funny thing is that babies at that stage don’t have all the baby fat but they do have the facial bone structure, so they almost look like little adults, or, to be a bit crass but descriptive, about the same size and weight as action figures.  I held him and saw that he had the Lord ‘booty booty butt’ chin, as we call it, and said to myself, “Wow, am I making this up, or does he look like my dad?”.  A few seconds later, Krista said, “He looks like your dad!”

We named him Jonathan Andrew Lord.  Krista’s dad’s name is John, I really like David’s friend Jonathan from the Bible, and both Jonathan and Andrew are family names.  Krista was adamant that it not be a city name.  It wasn’t intended at the time, but I think that works out really well.  Brooklyn and Sydney were made to be part of this world-at least for a time- and you can’t get more temporal than city names.  Zoe Renae (“Life, Reborn”) and Jonathan Andrew (“God has given Man, or Manly”) are much more spiritually focused, which makes sense, as they skipped earth and were made for heaven.

One of the things we struggled with a bit with Zoe is that we miss her, but if she had been, our daughter Brooklyn wouldn’t have been.  I’d mentioned Jonathan was one of my favorite men in the Bible, and that’s because he was such a great friend and the very definition of personal sacrifice.  He knew that David should be king, but since he, Jonathan, was the heir to the throne, he would have to die in order for David to become king.  And even knowing that full well, Jonathan still did everything he could in order to help and protect David.  Its impossible to know God’s plan, but if we were to get pregnant again soon, it would mean that we couldn’t have had both Jonathan and another baby, that again another Jonathan made way for someone else.

I thought it was good that we were able to be with him at the end, so to speak, to see his last few heartbeats. And after three girls, we were able to have a boy.  There are some things we do miss, little coincidences that you see and hope for and think “Oh, that will be cool,” but now are lost.  My dad passed away on January 15, 2010 and Jonathan was due to be born in January 2011- like one person in the family was lost, but another came in almost exactly a year later.  Also, Krista’s sister’s due date was within just a couple days of hers, and we were excited about these two cousins being great friends like their older siblings are.

But there are some coincidences that are good.  As I mentioned, my dad passed away in January, and this August was feeling a little rough for me, as my dad always made it a point to come down to visit us for my birthday in mid-August.  But it was neat that a ‘little Steve’ still showed up for me. Plus, Jonathan, Brooklyn and I all have birthdays within 2 weeks.

This has definitely been a sad time, but I’m not mad in the least.  I don’t think ‘why me?’ or ‘why us?’.  This is part of our story, of what makes us who we are.  I still think I live a charmed life, I’m incredibly blessed, and that God’s plan is perfect.  I do know His plan is beyond me, but that my life is His to use how he wants to.  I’m blessed.

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Dudes who can jump

No Comments 10 August 2010

This has absolutely nothing to do with me or Haiti, just very entertaining!

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The Haiti Trip- Part 1

No Comments 03 August 2010

I was in charge of taking video for our week long trip to build a widow’s house in Haiti this past week.  Here are the first three- “The Long Walk”, which gives you a good idea of what it was like just to get the materials down there.  “The Nehemiah Nine”- our nine member team, named after Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls in Jerusalem.  And finally, sort of a promo video I put together for The Bethel Guest House, a great facility for mission teams, who didn’t have any video up of their place.  Enjoy!

“The Long Walk”

“The Nehemiah Nine”

“Bethel Guest House Video Tour”

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Being creative for Christ

No Comments 21 February 2010

I’m excited about brain-storming with others on how to improve communication, performance, and overall impact of the non-profits, especially those helping widows and orphans.

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Hello world!

1 Comment 21 February 2010

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