What I Learned This August (2015)

As inspired by Emily Freeman, I thought I would share 10 things I've learned this month.  It's been a special month for us, as I officially finished my time working at Springvale Baptist Church at the end of July and have been looking forward to this month off for a long time.  Its amazing how life changes as you have kids and then more kids.  I think back to 21 year-old Alex and wonder what he would have done with an August without work - and living in a world of Netflix!...I'm quite sure he would have crawled into a hole somewhere with wifi accessibility and would've worked through every show he's ever heard of people enjoying, including Gilmore Girls. (to be honest, that would probably be the first one he'd watch). 

But now, the focus completely shifts.  This month wasn't about me, it was about us.  So, with that in mind there will be a lot of family values type of lessons I learned this month, and some other mostly random things.

10 things I learned through August 2015.

1. Disney Expo is a thing.

...and they reveal awesome things that everyone can get excited about.  Like all the new Pixar movies coming out (Toy Story 4, Finding Dory, Incredibles 2, Cars 3, and more), and that Disney World is building a Toy Story Land, and a Star Wars Land.  

I mean, good gracious!  

2. It takes a lot of effort to change a schedule.

For 10 years our family rhythm has been set to that of the ministry calendar and the hustle of Youth Ministry.  This month was the first time I've attempted to break out of that and not run on that track.  One of the biggest changes my wife and I try to make is going to bed earlier so we have more energy the next day.  I learned that this will not just change because we know it should.  It won't change just because now we are able to march to our own rhythm.  The truth is, we now have to intentionally change our rhythm of life.  For a family that has only known its rhythm to be set by an outside influence, this is a very difficult thing.  Onward.

3. The first 3 Star Wars movies do not entirely suck.

Granted, watching them 'through the eyes' of my 6 year-old may have changed things, but I have spoken very strongly against Episode 1, 2, & 3 and their destruction of a beautiful franchise.  Yet, after now completing the six-ology (??..sexology?  That can't be right) I expect to watch them all again before I line up on opening night for Episode 7.

4. My kids don't care about anything I'm doing, they just want time with me.

We have gotten used to being around each other, it's beautiful.  The other day I went out grocery shopping and when I came home it was like I was back from a week-long trip.  So, when I talk about school coming up (for me) and taking some 'alone time' to write this month, I suppose it shouldn't surprise me that they don't care.  They just want dad home.  They don't care what I'm working on, or who I'm meeting with, or how much I'll be speaking, they just want dad.  It's just a phase, and I don't wanna miss this. 

5. The Blue Jays are for real!

I've been a fan all my life. I went to game 4 of the 1992 World Series as a 9-year-old. I now get to watch a team not only win, but dominate the other teams, and more than likely make it to the post-season.  The MLB playoffs is the only post-season sport I watch every year, every night...and for the first time in 22 years my Jays will (probably) be a part of it!

6. People believe in me.

This website is evidence that I have great friends who think I have something this world needs.  I'm not sure there is a greater gift in this world for one's self-confidence than to have people not only listen to your ideas, but send ideas your way of things you should be doing (because they have been thinking about you).  Everyone needs this, everyone needs someone to be their cheerleader, everyone needs someone in their corner saying "you really have something here, and you need to do this."

7. Work hard, finish strong, rest well.

I didn't mess around at the end of July, I had two weeks to get a ton of stuff done to set up the program and system for the ministry as I was stepping out of it.  I put my head down, I got on my horse and hustled (that just about fulfills my cliché quota for one post). Now, because of that work, I can rest and 'move on' well.  I learned that when it is time to work, work hard.  When you are finishing something, finish strong.  And when it is time to rest, you will be able to rest well. So that, when it is time to work once again you will work, with strength, from your rest. 

8. There is always something new to learn.

Read.  Listen.  Ask.  Watch.  I am trying to not waste my life by assuming I have anything figured out so much that there is no room to stretch and move and shift and discuss new things. I have had great conversations this month as I have simply opened up to allow space for learning...probably a good practice as I prepare for Seminary in a couple of weeks.

9. Camping is such a great way to spend time together.

We are not hardcore campers - backcountry and portaging or any of that silliness.  Yet, we're not completely 'glampers' either - electricity, trailers, tvs, or any of that comfortable silliness.  We set up a tent, we forget air mattresses, we roast marshmallows, we eat hot dogs for 3 days, we sit around drinking french press coffee (not glamping??) while the kids play for HOURS around the campsite, then we go to the beach.  We go to bed soon after sunset and wake up soon after sunrise.  Cell phones aren't important, Netflix isn't the first thing the kids look at in the morning, and we TALK and LAUGH a LOT!  Camping, therefore, is a great way to vacation as a family. 

10. Lego wins.

We got my son a bunch of Lego for his 6th birthday, which inspired us to pull out my old bin of classic lego and we have spent many hours now as a family digging through the big box, spilling pieces all over the place, and building whatever unique creations we can possibly come up with. Lego inspires young minds to think abstractly.  Break free from the instructions, create!

10.5 - that last little bit reminded of this amazing picture I saw this month.  Break free, there is a whole new world out there.  

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Emily Freeman has a little community of people doing this monthly, I gotta say, I think I'm on board.