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My son, Isaac, is a great example for others to follow. Last week, he had his braces removed. It was a “fun” process for the whole family. Isaac dealt with the pain and hassle of the braces. Leanne and I dealt with financial pain of paying for this process. And Leanne spent a fair amount of time carting Isaac to and from the orthodontist.
When Isaac had the braces removed and he saw the finished product, you could tell he was appreciative. This past summer, he had the opportunity to go to Guatemala with our family. While he was there, he saw kids and adults with all kinds of dental issues – missing teeth, crooked teeth, and decaying teeth. I think this may have amplified his appreciation for his orthodontic opportunity.
The night the braces were removed, Leanne and I were greeted by a thank you note as we headed to bed.
The note read:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Thank You for providing the money to get my smile correct! I know it was a lot of money and I’ll try my best with the retainers. Thanks again!
It was a simple note, and it left a big impression.
You are not too old or too young to write a thank you note.
Start today. Express your gratitude to others.
How has a simple thank you note changed your world? Why are you thankful today?
Our family is in the middle of a very busy week. We have activities every night this week. And work is just as busy. We’re closing out the month of January this week, so I’m chasing down invoices, time sheets, and project close out activities. It’s weeks like this that cause my head to spin.
If you’re anything like me, you have weeks like this too.
What do you do when the weeks get crazy busy?
I’ve found several things that help me survive and thrive when the weeks get crazy busy. Here are my suggestions.
It’s only Tuesday, I’m not sure exactly how the rest of my week will go. But I do know that following these simple tips will help me though my crazy busy week.
What kind of week are you having? What helps your survive when the days and weeks get crazy busy?
As I was getting my laptop out to write today’s blog post, we received a call from our school district indicating school would be closed tomorrow due to the snow storm blowing through our area yesterday and today. The kids were jumping through the ceiling when they heard this news. As I type this (at 8 PM Tuesday night), 9 inches of snow has fallen and it’s still coming. The snow is supposed to end around 5 AM this morning. We’ll see what the total is.
The snow day made me think about all the great things that come with a snow day. I thought you might enjoy my ideas.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a snow day? What else would you add to the list above?
Thank You No. 30
Today, I’m thankful for advent.
Our family kicks off our celebration of advent today. We’ll be taking our kids into Philadelphia today for dinner and a Christmas show at the Walnut Street Theater. This is a fun way to get our hearts and brains in gear this holiday season. Each day from now until Christmas, our family will be doing something to celebrate advent.
Why are you thankful today?
Today, I’m thankful for my brothers.
I have two brothers (actually three if you count my brother-in-law). You’ve met my brother, David, through the blog comments. He lives in Wisconsin with his family. We are different in many ways, but we have a common bond in Christ that breaks through our differences. He challenges me to think differently and to go against the flow. My youngest brother, Erik, lives in Texas. I wish we lived closer, so we could get together regularly just to hang out. He is unbelievably talented when it comes to music and cooking. And my brother-in-law, Andy, lives in South Carolina with his family. I greatly admire his intelligence and the depth of his faith.
Why are you thankful today?
Today is Hannah’s 16th birthday!
Wow, time flies.
16 is a big milestone.
She is officially eligible to get her driver’s permit today. This is a bit scary for Leanne and me.
She is in her middle teens. She is definitely moving into young adulthood. She’s taking more responsibility. She’s starting to look at colleges and to consider career aspirations.
And she is taking responsibility for her own faith.
To Leanne and I, it seems impossible we are already at this milestone. We will always think of her as the little girl with the bobbed haircut who takes charge bossing her brother around and organizing backyard circuses and afternoon teas for her friends. It seems like yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital in her car seat or taking her to her first day of preschool or watching her climb on the school bus for her first day of kindergarten.
This is my prayer for Hannah on her 16th birthday.
Dear God, Thank you for Hannah. Thank you for the amazing gift you have given me in my daughter. Thank you for the honor and responsibility of raising her. God, I pray you will continue to work in Hannah’s life in a mighty way. Help her to continue to grow in beauty – inside and out – in the years ahead. More importantly, I pray that you will guide and protect her as she gets older. Thank you for her heart to serve others and to honor You. Use her in a mighty way. I know you have big plans for her. Help me to do my part in preparing her for the future, and help me to know how and when to let go at just the right time so she can continue to grow and serve. I pray she will keep Your Word in her heart. I pray she’ll surround herself with positive influences and that she’ll continue to look out for the needs of others. Thank you for these 16 years.
What do you remember about turning 16?
November has been designated as the month for thanksgiving due to the holiday that falls towards the end of the month. While I’d love to see thanksgiving be better represented the rest of the year, I can also tell you that our family probably concentrates more on giving thanks during this month than other months in the year. You probably noticed that I have also added a separate post each day so far this month to express my thanks for someone or something.
Today, I want to give you some ideas for enhancing your Thanksgiving experience this year. Don’t wait until the last minute to implement these ideas. Start today to make your Thanksgiving extra special this year!
This is a start! What other ideas can you add to the list? How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? How can do you plan to transform your holiday?
A successful marriage does not happen by accident. A marriage that works requires intention. You have to be intentional in cultivating your relationship so it lasts and sustains the ups and downs of life. Leanne and I don’t have a perfect marriage. We have plenty of things to work on when it comes to improving our marriage. But over the past 17+ years of our marriage, we have learned the benefits of being intentional, and we have discovered some tools which have helped to build up our marriage.
Today, I’d like to pass along some of the things we’ve learned so far. And I’d like to encourage you to take action today with your marriage. It will require intentional effort on your part, but it will be worth it.
What suggestions do you have for being intentional with your marriage? What is one thing you can do today for your marriage?
My daughter, Hannah, has been running cross-country this season for our local high school. This is her second season running at the high school level. Last year, she was probably running 13th – 17th on a very deep team. The season was a great opportunity to learn her capabilities, to meet her coaches, and to become more comfortable with the girls on the team. She started the year out somewhat slow, but she showed improvement as the season went along.
This year, she entered the season with higher expectations. She ran over 250 miles during the summer in preparation for the season. She definitely came in with higher goals of running faster and being ranked higher on the team. One of her goals was to run under 21:30 (for 5K or 3.1 miles), and another goal was to crack the varsity line-up. Each week, Hannah has shown improvement, and it was obvious she would meet the first goal before the end of the season. She has been close on the second goal, but this goal seemed to be just out of reach.
In a typical meet, varsity is made up of the top 7 runners. A couple of weeks ago, she was scheduled to run with the varsity runners for the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh University. This race allows 10 runners from each team to run varsity. Unfortunately, this race was cancelled due to unseasonable heat which caused many runners to go to the hospital in earlier races. Hannah was disappointed, but she kept going.
The next week, she had her last dual meet of the season. Before the race, we talked about her goals for the race, and she hinted about cracking the top 7, but she knew it would be tough. She ran very well, and ended up finishing 7th on the team (and 8th overall). She was so happy.
This left the coaches with a tough decision heading into the conference championships. Should they go with the runners who had performed best throughout the entire season? Should they give Hannah a chance to run on the varsity squad based on her last race? I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision especially since our team had a chance to win the event given a combination of great races by our best runners.
The race was Thursday, and we were waiting for word from the coaches as to which race Hannah would run – the Varsity race or the Junior Varsity race. Obviously, Hannah was hoping to run with the Varsity team, and she kept an optimistic outlook heading into the decision. On Wednesday afternoon, I received a text from Hannah, “Jv-so plan 2 win the race!”
What a positive attitude! I know I would have been disappointed, but she kept her chin up with the decision.
Thursday afternoon arrived, and she kept smiling. She definitely knew she had a chance to win the race, and she also realized her performance at the conference meet could still win her a spot on the Varsity team for the district meet later this week. The coaches seemed to think Hannah had a chance to win the race as well. They were excited for this possibility when they spoke to Leanne and I before the race.
The race started and Hannah moved towards the front of the pack in the first kilometer. She kept the lead and even extended the lead as the race continued. It was so exciting to watch Hannah throughout the race. She ran with grit and determination the whole race. When she broke the tape at the finish line, she was grinning from ear to ear. Her time of 21:08 beat the closed JV competitor by nearly 30 seconds, and it also would have been strong enough to medal in the Varsity race.
She did such a great job maintaining a positive attitude. She could have sulked and complained when the coaches made their decision to keep her at JV. She could have hung her shoulders in defeat. But she didn’t!
When the race finished, the coaches mentioned she would most likely be running with the Varsity team for the district meet on Friday. Obviously, Hannah’s running ability and hard work had a lot to do with this turn of events, and I think her positive attitude was a huge reason she reached this goal. I can’t wait for Friday!
How has a positive attitude helped you succeed in reaching a goal?