Thursday, April 20, 2017

When too busy and your kid calls you out

Last month was busy for me.

It’s not all busy with work.
It was winter, which means I’ve was traveling more to Tahoe to snowboard (mostly with the kids).
I’ve been working out more and trying to stay fit.
It was Leah’s 7th birthday.
I also had a great opportunity to preach at Camp Pondo in So Cal.
These are just some of what comes to mind.

At the end of the month, on Friday night, Sophie said: “Daddy, are you staying home tonight?”

The question was hard for me to hear.
She didn't ask it in a sour tone. She didn't start whining or crying in the conversation.
She asked it very meekly and with a heart that conveyed how she has missed me that week.

I've written before about being an engaged parent. This was a reminder to me that I wasn't being the type of parent I've been before. It wasn't a drastic shift but my daughter noticed that I hadn't been as involved as in years past. Sophie knew that I was breaking my own rules and had worked five nights in a row (my goal is to be home more nights than I am out).

I'm thankful for her simple question. I'm thankful how she asked it. Some kids are asking the same thing but in a different tone or with different actions. If you read your kids actions and words what are they saying to you? My kid really just wanted more time with me and I'm thankful I was able to be around to give it to her.

I'm thankful for the time I get to spend with my kids!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

5 Places to Stop on The Road to Hana

On our first trip to Maui we heard about the road to Hana. In all honesty I had no desire to drive for 6+ hours to get to a small town on the other side of the island. As we talked with more people the trip kept coming up. Finally, once on the island, we heard a few more people say it's a must do.

With that, I started researching the road and found the best piece of advice on the internet. It said something like: "go as far as you can handle and turn around...". That was what we were looking for!

With that we started planning the drive that would carry us on the road to Hana. The car was packed with three kids, my wife and mom. We took off early. Here are the five stops we made and it was well worth the drive!

Honolulu Coffee in Paia 

This is a great little coffee shop at what I would call the last town you can stop in. The staff is super friendly and great to talk with. We stopped here both ways to get coffee. Charity ordered their most famous drink (just ask what it's called) and she loved it. I grabbed a decaf and it was super good.

Twin Falls

This is a great little walk/hike to take with your family. It's right off the road at Mile Marker 2. The mile markers start and then restart so keep your eyes out early. If you arrive early there is a good parking lot. If you park further away there are warning signs for theirs.

As for the hike, we actually walked a little further than needed. When you park, walk past the school bus on the large trail (you can't miss it). When you see the bamboo on your right make a left. This trail will take this straight to the water fall. You can walk further on the trail and see the top of the falls.

For us, the water fall was only on one side due to lack of rain. Either way it's still beautiful!

Garden of Eden 

We heard about this spot online initially. On the elevator I was talking with some guys and they mentioned it. After looking it up on Yelp I decided we needed to check it out.

Some tips: if you're in a group of five or more there is a discount. We also were able to get all three kids in for free since they are in car seats (booster seats count). Get some quarters at the entrance to feed the peacocks. Watch out for the ducks, they are persistent in wanting food.

Get out of the car and walk around here. There are some super cool trees you can see! Leah liked the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree. I wanted to see the old mango tree. You can also walk to see a waterfall overlook. The views up here were breathtaking!

Small pool to swim in 

We found a small pool to swim in about 3 miles before our last stop. We actually passed it and then came back. I don't know how to explain where it's at. If I said: "It's by the bridge after the corner" it wouldn't help you at all!

We pulled over on the side of the road, parked the car and headed down. It was a small path down to the pool. When we got there there was a few other people. They soon departed and it was just the Benson family. The water was cold (seriously cold), but I jumped in and started swimming. Isaiah wanted to come with and we swam to the other side. Being the great dad I am I encouraged the kids to come in and make some memories!

At the end I bribed them all with chocolate to get this great picture. In reality we had such a good time!

Halfway to Hana 

This is our journey on the road to Hana concluded. While doing some research it made sense to end here. We stopped for a shave ice and to stretch our legs. We ended up connecting with some locals and taking about pig hunting. Once the shave ice was done it was back on the road.

As I think back to our adventure I'm reminded of the creative nature of God. The road to Hana is full of twists and turns. There is beauty in the beach, plants and water. The lush, and untouched, beauty is something g to marvel at. If you take this adventure keep this in the front of your mind. Think about how awesome God is when you stop at these spots, hear the sounds and smell this wonderful place!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Kind Police Officer

One day our family was walking to dinner. When we do this walk we pass the police station near our house. I don't think ever seen any police vehicles pulling in or out of this station before. My thought always was we just missed the shift change. But on this walk it was different.

This day a police officer was pulling into the station on his bike. It was a time in our Nation where police officers were catching a bad rap. There was a wave of violence occurring in our Nation and the media was not giving law enforcement the best name.

As we neared the officer he took notice of our kids. He didn't have to do that. He got off his bike. He didn't have to do that either. He invited our kids to him, and gave them stickers. He also let the girls jump on the bike and posed for a picture.

This seems to be more of my normal experience with the police. Yes, I've had my share of negative experiences but in those instances I was breaking the law and gave the office reason to question me. As I've been an adult, with children, all of my interactions with the police have been positive.

I'm writing this about six months after it happened. I wish I would have done so earlier. I wish I could have helped provide a better image to those who serve my city when our country was highly emotional. But that didn't happen.

Maybe, just maybe, you'll read this post today and be reminded of the positive impact law enforcement has on our communities. I know I'm thankful!

Monday, April 10, 2017

An invitation at DUI school

A young man walked into his DUI, court mandated, class that Friday morning with a bruised face and stitches above his eye. Another night of drinking landed him in jail earlier that week. As he walked out of the small classroom, with hard plastic chairs, an older guy turned to him and said: “If you don't quit drinking you'll be dead in five years." The words hit the young man like a ton of bricks. He knew it was true but was at a loss for words at how to respond.

What he heard next wasn't what he imagined: "Do you want to go to church with me this weekend?" The young man almost froze. He wanted to say: "yes" but was so scared. He had heard this guy talk about church and was interested but also scared. After staring at this man he finally said what he was thinking: "yes, I'll go."

That Sunday Brett came to pick me up for church and began investing in my broken life. He taught me Scripture, bought me lunch and prayed for me. That invitation completely changed my life. My life was barreling down the freeway in a horrible direction. Over the next year Brett played a huge role in my early development as a young Christ follower. He taught me about reading God's word. Encouraged me to leave a life of sin and showed me grace like I've never seen before!

As Easter is approaching who might God place in your path to invite to church? You might be prompted by the Spirit to reach out to someone who is completely different from you. They may be a person at your work who you've started a relationship with and this is the perfect time to extend an invitation. God might nudge you to have a conversation that is out of your comfort zone. Now you don’t have to get a DUI to invite someone to church, but a simple invitation can change a life!