Tag Archives: Blogging

Baby Patience

Let me confess that I am not the most patient person in the world. That is not to say that I do not do well with waiting. I actually think I am rather good at waiting for things – just give me a time or a date and I can wait it out as good as anybody and perhaps better than most. I like it when there is a plan and things go according to that plan. So if the plan involves waiting then I see that as just something that needs to happen.

Give me a plan and I will be just fine.

So here is my problem: lesson one of having a baby – babies don’t do plans. Babies think about plans like they think about trigonometry – they don’t. They do not know about your plan and they do not care about your plan. They will literally defecate on your plan and give you an evil sweet smile while doing it.

And it is here that I discover my lack of patience.

Last Tuesday was the day that my wife went back to work after maternity leave. I was able to rearrange my schedule so that Elliana is with me on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Tuesday was thus the first time Elliana was stuck with me – and just me – for a whole day.

We gave it all a dry run on Saturday. I fed her with the bottle and she did great. I put her down for a nap. We got along just well on Saturday with Amanda watching from a distance.

Then Tuesday hit. The plan was that Elliana would sleep in until at least 8 or 8:30 which would give me some quiet time in the morning to read. You already know where this is going: 7:20am and it’s “Rise and shine and…too early!!!!” I get her up and changed and everything was going well. Then I warmed up the bottle and apparently Elliana decided to go on bottle strike between Saturday and Tuesday because she was not having it. After only four months as a father, I would not say that I am proficient in baby, but I am pretty sure she was telling me, “I’m not a dummy – this ain’t a boob, and you ain’t mommy” (I am pretty sure there were some expletives in there as well but I decided to censor the translation).

So we begin the day and she is tired and hungry. Tired and hungry babies tend to be loud babies. But I know how to deal with this! She loves her pacifiers! Pacifiers, well, they pacify her. And…nope. Elliana seems to have decided that she’s a “big girl now” and does not need pacifiers. If she has something to say, she will say it and she will not be pacified. She is a strong, independent baby who don’t need no pacifier.

And that was just the first hour.

Things continued in much the same way for the rest of the day, though I was able to rock her to sleep and keep her asleep long enough to watch an afternoon movie. But by the time 5:00 rolled around, we had both lost our patience with each other. I was much too slow to read her cues. I was inefficient at warming up her bottles, changing her diapers, and just about everything else. And she was – well, I suppose she was just a baby about the whole thing.

We were sitting on the couch waiting through the final hour for mommy to get home and were both exhausted. Elliana was screaming as she had much of the day and I was staring at the ceiling thinking about how terrible of a father I was. I was angry and frustrated and more than a little part of me wanted to just yell at her to just shut up. But as I looked at those big, blue eyes of hers, I realized that I was not really frustrated with her. In truth, I had not even lost my patience with her. I had lost patience with myself. I believed that I should be “super daddy” who took care of all of her needs perfectly. I believed that I should be “super husband” who had cleaned the house, made a warm dinner, and kept the baby happy while mom was at work. And I could not achieve any of those things.

It was then that I cried. I did not plan on crying but it just came out. And then I started sobbing. I told Elliana that she got to cry all day and now it was my turn. The fascinating thing was that as soon as I started crying, she stopped. She kind of just looked at me with curiosity as she watched her daddy ball his eyes out. I hugged her tightly and told her I loved her. It was almost like we both decided: she had been crying all day and I had done my best to comfort her, but now she was going to let me cry and comfort me – just for a moment.

And that is all it was – a moment. Because five minutes later she was crying again and I was rocking her and doing my best to soothe her. But I needed that moment to learn a little patience.

I do not need to be “super daddy”. I do not need to be the best daddy in the world. I just need to be her daddy and learn patience with myself so that I can in turn extend patience to her. It will take me some time, but I will learn it in baby steps.

Wednesday morning came around and we were ready to do it all over again. The day began much the same way. I jumped in the shower at 7:15am and was out in another minute because Elliana decided it was time to wake up early again. As I picked her up out of her basinet I told her we needed to talk.

“We both lost our patience with each other yesterday – and we’re stuck with each other again today. So here’s the deal, kid. I promise that I will be more patient with you today than I was yesterday. I would like to ask if you can be a bit more patient with me as well.” She gave me a smile which I interpreted to mean, “I’ll try.” We shook hands and agreed to the deal.

Suffice it to say – Wednesday went a whole lot better because I began the day with one plan and one plan only: patience. Patience was the plan. I can always stick with a plan. So I can say proudly that we both fulfilled the agreement and were more patient with each other (though I have to brag and say I did better job than she did).

We both are moving forward one baby step at a time.

Writing Time

I have been writing for almost as long as I can remember. I think, in my own way, I was writing before I even came to learn about letters and words. There are times I can recall from my earliest days of childhood where I would think up stories in my head and either talk or play them out in my room. Letters and words were only the tools I needed to call what I was doing “writing”.

One of my favorite assignments in school was when we would have to take all of our spelling words and use them in a story. I remember one story I wrote from 1st grade about an Orca whale who read the Bible. Never mind the fact that whales cannot read and that paper turns to mush under water. If I could write it, I always felt like it made it real somehow. Words and stories open up possibilities that can exist nowhere else – not even in the movies.

As I grew older – I am not sure if I have ever grown up – no matter how often my dream career changed, I always thought writing was a given. After all, one can write regardless of what one does to pay the bills. But here is where I have discovered the limits of writing: you cannot write time.

All throughout my life and all throughout my education, I was always able to find time to pursue my enthusiasm for putting words onto an empty page. I was perusing through an old thumb drive the other day and was a bit surprised by just how much I had written: short stories, poems, incomplete novels, and more. There was a time I was blogging fairly regularly and enjoying it immensely. I even managed to complete a novella. But then life happened.

Life happening does not mean “bad things” in any way. It just means that I got busier with other, more important things. Back in 2013, my life changed pretty dramatically in just a couple of months. In September I got married. In October I began pastoring a church. It would be fair to say that writing was no longer a top priority. I suppose that would be okay if that were only for a season – but it’s safe to say that five and a half years is a little more than a season.

That is not to say I have not written in the last five years! Actually, I write every week: a sermon manuscript. Of course, writing sermons is a significantly different kind of writing in my opinion. But I have also dabbed a bit in some creative writing. There have been the occasional blog posts and stories (most of which never got completed). But it has never been how I always imagined it would be. There just never seems to be enough hours in the day.

My life is once again about to change significantly: My wife and I our expecting our first child this July! Just as I was writing this, my wife called me over to feel her tummy and I was able to feel our little baby (“Spud”) kick for the first time. Anticipating this baby is like nothing else I have every experienced.

But I have come to a realization over the past couple of months – it’s now or never. If I do not make the decision to make writing a priority now then it will never happen. I will lose this hobby that I once dearly love. Life will always be in flux. There will always be other things that need to be done. And the reality is, there are not looking to be any more hours added to the day anytime soon. I am stuck with the same measly 24 hours as everyone else. Boo!

I cannot write time any more than I can make time. What I can do is find time. Over the past few weeks – thanks largely to the encouragement of my wife – I have taken just 30 minutes to an hour each evening to practice my writing. It is not much but it is more than I have been doing for the last five years. What I have found is that there is actually more time available than I have ever known. In our day and age of social media and endless information in which to scroll, it can be frightening to realize how much time we waste.

We all only have the same 24 hours a day. What we do with that time reflects our priorities. I can say that writing is a priority – but unless I can demonstrate that with my time, I am full of bologna.

Time is seemingly becoming a more valuable resource by the day. After five years in ministry now, I have discovered that time is one of the last things people are willing to give. Many people will write a check long before they will contribute their time. Time is a resource. But unlike money, we are all pretty much on the same playing field. 24 hours is 24 hours.

Looking at my future, I realize that I do not have a clue how much my life is going to change once we have this baby. But what I do know is that I love this baby, my wife, Jesus, my ministry, and myself far too much to lose something that I have loved for so long. The last thing I want is to allow resentment to gain a hold of my heart to where I start blaming the people that I love for taking away from me something that I love doing when the only person I could really blame would be myself.

So I am beginning the habit now of writing every day (or just about every day, at least). I am frustrated with how rusty I am! But at this point, it does not really matter if what I write is worth two cents. I am finding life and energy that I had not even realized I had been missing over the last few years. And with a baby on the way, I need as much life and energy as I can get!

Taking Back Sabbath

Time is one of those things that we never seem to have enough of.

Last week between my two jobs (and the commute between the two), I worked over 60 hours. Of course, that doesn’t count my responsibilities at home such as cooking, cleaning, etc. It was the kind of week where I would wake up every morning and work until I could not work any more — then I would go to bed.

I have had a lot of weeks like that recently; hence why I have been so hit or miss in the blogging world since I “rejoined”.

Somehow, someway, I am going to need to prioritize my time in such a way that I can return to posting regularly. Writing is one of those things that is just downright therapeutic for me and if I fail to write anything for too long, I fear that I will go insane.

I do believe, though, that I am beginning to learn ways in which I can find that time.

Every Saturday, my wife and I take a “Sabbath”. We don’t call it a day off because day’s off are the time that most people use to catch up on things that they don’t have time for the rest of the week. We call it “Sabbath” because it truly is a day to cease from our labor (a concept that I believe is both biblical and healthy).

The problem is that once Sabbath comes around, I have no energy for blogging or writing so it often ends up feeling more like a wasted day than anything. A lot of times I will open up my computer with the intention of writing yet nothing comes to me.

I’m beginning to learn, however, that taking a Sabbath is anything but a wasted day. It is because of that day that I have the strength and energy to do the work that I do throughout the week. Maybe a day of doing absolutely nothing is exactly what I need. Perhaps, with time, the spiritual discipline of Sabbath will allow me to have the time that I need to do the things that I love so that I can better be the man that God created me to be.

Working for the good of others is a must — but if I fail to take care of myself then I am not doing anyone any good.

Scripture tells us that after six days of work, God rested. If God needed to rest, then how arrogant is it for me to think that I do not need it.

I think there are times when the humble thing to do is to take time to take care of yourself — a difficult lesson that I am attempting to navigate in this stage of my journey.

God bless.

I’m Back

1616449_10152554142953332_844687268_nI can’t help but wonder as I type this if anyone in the blogosphere will remember me. It has, after all, been six months since I last posted anything. It would not surprise me at all if those following this blog have completely forgotten about Where the Shadows Lie.

If that is the case; well, I have a lot of work to do to rise out of obscurity and regain a following. But first, let me share a bit about my journey and why I have been absent from the blogging world that I miss so much.

I remember sharing before I fell off the face of the Earth that I was getting married so I would not be blogging during the honeymoon. Well, I did in fact get married to the girl of my dreams and we are very happy together. Yet, I did not return to blogging, as promised. There are a few reasons for this: (1) My wife and I could not afford internet service so it was difficult to get online enough to blog. (2) Being a newlywed, blogging was not nearly has high on my priority list. (3) Right after getting back from the honeymoon, I began to enter into discussions about a new ministry position.

This leads me to the next major step of my journey: I am now the senior pastor at Vale Church of the Nazarene in Vale, Oregon. Yep, not even two months after being married my wife and I packed our bags and moved an hour away to a little town in Eastern Oregon. I would not have considered a senior pastor position right out of school under ordinary circumstances; however, it is a very unique position that I am in. Ontario Church of the Nazarene (in Ontario, Oregon — about 15 minutes from Vale) is a much larger church and decided to “adopt” the church in Vale to help keep the doors open. So, although I am the lead pastor in Vale, I am simultaneously on staff at Ontario Naz and their senior pastor and board oversee my work.

Honestly, it is about as ideal of a situation as I could think of for a young pastor just out of school looking for his first position.

My wife and I have now been in Vale for three months and we are excited to see this church grow. I am learning a lot about life and ministry and now that we are getting settled here in Vale, I could not be more excited about rejoining the blogging world.

For the first time since being married, I now have regular access to internet so I hope to make posts weekly and be as involved in the blogosphere as I was before falling off the map.

So, regardless of whether or not you remember me, I am looking forward to once again sharing my thoughts and stories with you (I have more now than ever!). I hope to finally finish my “Apology” series with “Why I Still Believe” (Because yes, I most certainly do still believe in Jesus Christ my Lord!) Once that series is over, I plan on sharing my sermons with you as I work on turning my manuscripts into blog posts. I am also looking forward to using this as a place to share all of the exciting stories that are happening here at Vale Church of the Nazarene and any other stories I come up with as I follow my savior into the lands of shadow.

P.S. Several months back, I did some promoting for a book that I hoped to release earlier this month. With all the life changes that have happened, I ultimately had to shelf that project (again). I hope to announce a book release sometime over the next month.

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