Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thoughts about my dad

I Miss My Dad

It's been few days since my dad passed away. I've been flooded with emotions. It’s not like me to be super emotional but this is a big loss, the loss of a parent. I've thought about what he taught me, what he showed me and how I was able to support him. The purpose of this post is for me to share my memories with my dad. I want to jot my mind of all the good things we did together.

Lessons from dad

Some of the earliest memories with my dad are of us fishing together. He loved to fish. Some of these fishing lessons included: not touching the poison oak while walking through the woods, not falling in the stream when fishing on the bank and keeping my line on the reel. The reality is that I failed at all of these! I can’t tell you how many times our fishing trips ended with me in the bath and getting calamine lotion on. I’m going to say that every fishing trip I fell in the water. I had a unique ability to fall in the water pretty much every time. In addition to that, I would frequently get my line tangled. In all of these lessons my dad still helped me through them.

Last summer I was going salmon fishing. My dad loved it when I would send him pictures from my salmon fishing trips. I called him ahead of time and asked if he wanted to join me. He responded with an enthusiastic “yes” and drove up on a Thursday night. Friday morning we woke up early and headed out fishing. I wish I could say we caught limits of salmon but we didn’t. We both got skunked. But we got father and son time. Looking back, I wish I had more trips like this to think about with my dad.

As I grew up he then taught me how to shoot a gun. I can remember many times sitting in the backyard and shooting targets with him. Not only did my dad teach me to shoot a gun, he also taught me gun safety. He taught me this lesson at a early age and it has given me a great respect for the power of guns and the need to be safe with them. In fact, he didn’t call them guns. He would call them “weapons” so I knew the power they held.

Last year, when my dad first got sick, Sophie and I went to visit him. Knowing we were staying at his house and he was healing, I brought my Rugger .22 to plink around with. It was great teaching Sophie to shoot a gun in the same backyard I learned to shoot in.

When I was at the age I could drive my dad would help me work on the car. He would always make sure that I read the manual on how to do what I needed to do. He made sure that I would read it because he knew I was prone to skip something. He was insistent on getting out the right tools ahead of time. He would check my work and teach me things about cars I had no understanding of in my teens. Those lessons have proved vital in my adult years.

My dad was a frugal man. I say that with a respect for him now. He taught me the value of money on many occasions. With my parents being divorced, it was normal for me to see him every other weekend. Each weekend I had a set of chores to complete. Once they were done he would give me an allowance. In the moment I thought he was a cheapskate. As I reflect back on the lesson he was teaching me, I can see that he was showing me the value of hard work. I think that I am a hard worker because of my dad. His value for money has taught me to save for things and get the best value I can.

Times I could help my dad

As my dad aged, and the tech industry boomed, I became more of a tech native. Almost every time my dad would visit me, in my adult years, he would have a project for me to look at or help him with. I wish I could count how many things I taught him on the computer. I wish I could count how many times I showed him the same thing at each trip. On multiple occasions I would help him pair his phone with his car. Those moments in the car with him are something I wish I could have right now.

Phone Conversations

In my teenage years my dad and I got in a huge fight. I had hurt my knee snowboarding and needed to see a doctor. Something happened with my insurance due to his job and I was unable to see the doctor. I was extremely upset. We got in a huge fight on the phone. We swore at each other, said hateful words and didn’t talk for two years. I didn’t take to my dad from the age of seventeen to nineteen.

Over the last couple years I wanted to work on our relationship. It wasn’t bad, it was just that there was a distance between us with me living in the Bay Area and he being in LA County. My pastor, Mark Mitchell, gave me the advice to call him once a week on my drive home. I would regularly call him after leaving the gym on Tuesdays. It was our time to talk. I would also call him when I was leaving Tahoe after a snowboard trip with my kids. As I’m writing this, it’s Tuesday. The reality has set in that this Tuesday I won’t be able to call my dad.

The value of a parent

If your parent(s) are still alive I hope you cherish the time you have with them. Yesterday I went through my pictures to find photos for the slide show at his funeral. Your relationship may not be perfect but take the time to enjoy your parent. Think about what you can learn from them. Ask them questions now that you can’t ask them in 10 years. If you have kids, let them spend time with you parent (if they are safe to be around). I love looking at some of the pictures of my dad with my kids.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Don Benson- Celebration of Life

On behalf of my family we would like to invite you to come and celebrate the life of my dad with us on Saturday July 1, 2017.

We will begin with a viewing at 9:00am. From there we will have a Rosary service at 10:00am followed by a Mass that begins at 12:45pm. The location for these events is:
Mission Hills Catholic Mortuary
11160 Stranwood Ave
Mission Hills CA 91345

Following the funeral service we invite you all to join us for a meal beginning at 2:00pm:
VFW Post 6885
16208 Sierra Hwy
Santa Clarita, California, CA 91390

Donald Lee Benson was born on October 1, 1944 and passed into eternity on June 23, 2017. He was born in Redlands, CA and raised in Medford, OR. Don was preceded in death by his parents and leaves behind two brothers; Jim Benson and Bob Gilligan. Don also leaves behind his wife of 16 years, Marilynn Benson and his two children, Beth Diehl and Neal Benson. He has five grandchildren who will miss him dearly.
Don served our country for five years and was honorably discharged from  the Army. He graduated from Cal State Northridge with his bachelors degree.  Most of his teaching career was spent at Arroyo Seco Junior High School. Don enjoyed fishing, camping, visiting his family and spending time at the VFW. He had a great group of friends who miss him dearly. Don lived in Santa Clarita and was well loved by those who knew him.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Our Ever Present God

For the last almost five years I've served at Central Peninsula Church. My family arrived here just days after we went from two to three campuses. We've met so many different people, in different stages of life, in different areas of the Peninsula. It's been a wonderful learning experience serving at a large multisite church.

My great friend Rob Hall leads our North Campus. On May 28 I preached my last sermon up there (until they invite me back in a few years). I had a blast with the team up there. For my last sermon I had a stand alone. A stand alone sermon is one that isn't based in a series. I was able to connect with God and see what would be best for them. What came to mind was Psalm 20:7. My aim was to only preach on that verse but it would have been unwise to not preach the Psalm as a whole.

The sermon is timely for my life also with our transition. June 11 will be my last day on staff at CPC. It's been a great five years. I've served with some great people, learned a ton and grown a whole bunch. It's going to take an entire post on it's own to express my gratitude to CPC for the time I've been able to learn here. Until that post is ready, you can catch the entire message here on Vimeo

05/28/2017 - Neal Benson | An ever present God from Central Peninsula Church on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Foster City Campus Fun

Babe Ruth once said: "The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime."

I serve with one of the best teams in the world. We've played well together. We've won battles and fought the spiritual battle as a whole. I will miss this team. See I've been a big team proponent because I know the value of a team and how we can accomplish something together. I also know that every team needs to take a break from the daily grind and get out and have fun!
Last week our team practiced this. We had a staff retreat slotted in the month of June but with my transition our team decided we needed to have a fun day to celebrate all God has done here in the last five years. Different ideas were thrown out but what stuck was indoor skydiving. Now I had been indoor skydiving before but the rest of the team hadn't been. With the short notice not everyone was able to participate. In fact, one got sick the day before and one wasn't able to due to a previous injury.

We had a blast! We each took three flights and enjoyed [almost] every minute of it. Now the reason I share this is because some of you need to lead up and encourage others to have fun with your staff team or volunteer team. My team led up. They encouraged us to make this happen. They thought of the idea, helped plan the day and then we all laughed. Investing in team time is very important. Although this will be my last fun day with my team, we will all remember this for the rest of our lives!

Here is a video from one of my flights. Pretty stoked I started to get the hang of it and the instructor let me fly solo