How’s your faith these days?

Ephesians 6:10-20 (New International Version)

The Armor of God

 10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.  19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Social Media + Business…

This is an absolutely fantastic video talking about the power of social networking from a business perspective.  It’s all stats, and to be completely honest I’m not sure the source of the stats – but honestly, even if they’re not 100% accurate… they’re leaning in the right direction.

What are we doing?

Do you ever look at your life and wonder what the heck you’re up to? 

I’ve been doing that a lot lately. 

I mean, overall I think life is good – but every so often reality raises its ugly head and looks you in the eye, and then what are you supposed to do?  These last few weeks have been a little introspective for me; perhaps Grandpa’s passing spurred it, or maybe it was just time.

What is the point?  Of life, I mean?  We’ve definitely made some interesting choices.  Choices that in a lot of ways have cost us a lot, and in other ways have given us much.  But sometimes I wonder where we would be if different choices had been made.

If we didn’t own the store, would we still be working over 100 hours a week, barely meeting our own bills, dealing with each emergency expense by the seat of our pants?  Would we (one or both) have a “real” job, a steady income, benefits, a less insane work schedule – or would we now be laid off with nothing?

Sometimes I feel like I’m swimming backwards.  When do we start to stand on our own two feet?  Right now, without parents to help with the bills, we’d be screwed.  That’s not a cool place to be.  How will this affect our retirement, and our lives down the road?  What would God have us do, if indeed there is a path we are to walk?  When does life on the edge become obscene instead of adventure, irresponsible instead of hopeful?  How can we possibly make a valiant effort to live within our means when our means are almost non-existent and change every month?  When do we look at life and say “it’s not working, we have to figure something else out?” 

Why do I care all of a sudden?  Are we doing what we’re supposed to do, or are we just doing because we don’t know what else to do?

March 2, 2010 Family Outing.

Today was a beautiful day, we were all home for a VERY rare change, and we decided to take a little outing.  We drove past all the various train overlooks in Everett, and then got out at Riverside Park – really just a little spot with a garden and benches.  Janene took some fantastic photos.  Then we piled back in to the car and went to Molbak’s for a few moments before headed home.  It was a nice little diversion. 🙂  Here are some pics…

The Passing of Time, and Life Goes On.

Yep, it has officially been … at LEAST forever …. since I posted anything.  I don’t know that that’s healthy for me – I don’t have a lot of outlets for pretty much anything at the moment, and blogging at least makes me slow down for a bit.

It’s pretty amazing to me the speed that life can reach.  I feel like all of last year was a strange combo of being in a meat grinder on fast forward.  I’ve told a couple of people lately that life has handed me my ass on a rusty platter, and I think that about sums it up.  It’s been a very VERY tough stretch (and we’re nowhere near out of it yet), but there have definitely been some truly high points among the days.

For one, Ben is fast approaching 3 years old.  THREE FREAKIN’ YEARS OLD.  Where the Hockey Sticks has the time gone?  But BOY is it fun.  He’s in to everything.  Exploring and learning new (and complicated) words every day, slowly learning to master his emotions (he’s quite emotional, actually – and I’m still deciding if it’s a good thing or not), and seeing the wonder in every day life that I have seemed to have lost.

Having Ben around 24/7 has been a unique challenge.  Janene pretty much lives at the store trying to keep that afloat, and with my parents taking care of Grandpa Ed (before he passed) and Grandma Esther, they haven’t been able to watch Ben like they used to.  Interestingly enough, I’ve learned quite a lot about myself – and definitely not all of it happy.  But that’s what change is supposed to be for – find the things that suck and turn ’em on their heads.  We’ll see how that goes.

Janene and I have been married 6.5ish years now.  We’ve been together almost 11.  11 years.  That’s seriously crazy – makes me feel old.  I think, despite all the stress and crap of the last year, and everything we’re dealing with – and how rarely we truly SEE each other – that our relationship is doing amazingly well.  She puts up with a lot, let me say.  In looking back, there’s certainly things I would change – but more that I wouldn’t.

Ok.  Enough of this looking back crap for now.  If anybody actual reads this (doubtful) you’re now caught up.  Maybe I’ll post again sometime, something besides boring.

Being A Dad…

Being A Dad…

BenjaminWell, it’s been almost 11 months since Benjamin came into this world, and boy – has he changed things! 🙂  In looking back over this last (almost) year, I’m amazed at how much has happened, and where God has brought us.  It’s also incredible to have a child – it’s more than I ever expected, and in a good way!  It has challenged my thoughts, my actions, my heart, my spirit, and my body (yeah, tossing a 25+ lb 10.5 month old around, crawling all over the place, being crawled ON… whoa boy!). 

This last year has seen so much, so many changes – mostly good, for that matter.  Almost a year ago we were able to take Ben on his first road trip (at 3 weeks!) back to Colorado – Ft. Collins, where I was born.  At the time, the trip was fantastic – it was GREAT to see all those things that I saw growing up, to visit not only Ft. Collins but all the things on the road between here and there.  But as great as it was, I can say – sitting here writing this – that I wish with all my heart to be doing it again.  The experience has grown in my heart, and in my mind, far beyond what it was at the time (and it was great then!).  We’re still (wow…) working on getting photos up online – but those’ll be coming soon, so keep an eye on our Flickr account…

…I’ve grown, from having Ben around… I see things differently.

We purchased a house, which we are in the process of making a home… (*grin*).  Our first order of business – which has taken several months – is to finish the basement.  That will be my office, Janene’s art studio, and a family space.  I’m at the point in the project that while I’m still extremely excited about it I really just want it to be done.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s going to be VERY nice.  I’ve learned a ton of things, and even gotten some new tools out of the deal (YES!). 

Janene has quit her job at Children’s Hospital to be a full time mom, to do art, to work at the store, and to generally live a good, mom-like life.  I’ve been offered an opportunity with a friend to get back into the web development world, and while it’s taking me longer than I expected to get into it, I’m getting there.  I do miss working daily on store stuff, terribly – but in time I’ll be able to get back to that.

BenjaminAnd through all of this is Benjamin.  I’ve watched him grow from an infant to a little boy, and he’s not even a year old!  He’s got 6 teeth (I think!), he’s cruising around everywhere he goes, he’s started saying mamamama and dadadada and all kinds of other cute but unintelligable things.  He eats solid foods – actually, he’ll eat pretty much anything, including cords, the cat, or mommy’s work stuff.  He laughs and giggles, and every single time my heart melts.  He LOVES outdoors, and I simply cannot wait until summer hits to do some camping.  I want to teach him to sit and enjoy a campfire, to appreciate nature more than he does now.  To breath the fresh air and to love the freedom we have. 

I’ve grown, from having Ben around.  I see things differently.  Things that never used to bother me do; things that I thought I was going to be fine with I’m now not.  I’m working a lot of hours – more than I want to admit.  And that’s really, really tough – when Ben’s around, I just want to hold him, to teach him, to laugh and play. 

Janene went to her sister’s house in Portland this weekend, and she took Ben with her.  Every time he’s gone away for more than the work day I have a hard time.  I want to hear him, to see his smiling face, and to have him grin ear to ear and crawl away as fast as he can when he sees me, knowing I’m comin’ for him.

Family at Easter 2008

All that, and far more, in only <11 months.  Holy cow.  What do the next 40 years have in store?  All I know is that I look forward to every day, every step forward.  I know it’s not always going to be peachy – he’ll reach a point where the last thing he wants is to have us around.  I did.  But now I LOVE seeing my parents (which happens ALL the time, so it’s good I’m so fond of them … ).  I can only hope that I can be the dad that Ben needs, and that after those trying times, our relationship will blossom again.  Until then, he’d better watch out… ’cause here I cooommmmmmeeeeeeeeee…….

Dad & Son Fishing Print
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Jeff Dunham. I love this guy.

So I borrowed this DVD from my brother Jon; Jeff Dunham is a ventriloquist. This act is from one of his DVD’s. Some of the jokes are out of context because they reference other parts of the DVD. But hey, it’s still freakin’ funny. There’s a little bit of language, but over all the DVD is pretty clean. Anyway, yeah. Acmed the Dead Terrorist.

Times of Change

Life certainly has been crazy this last year. I can’t believe Benjamin is already over 10 months old; that’s just crazy talk! But he is, and he is absolutely – as the cliche goes – the light of our life. Also a bit of a terrifying thing, since I can’t imagine it’ll be long before he’s all out walking…

So let’s see. Where are we now?

Janene has quit her job at Children’s Hospital in order to be home full time, work at The Weed Patch, and get back into her art. Everybody is benefiting from this (have you SEEN the dinners I’ve been eating? Holy crap!) in so many ways. What finally made this all possible was several big, long term contracts coming through for Chris, including working for a friend doing design and development work on a “as much time as I can” basis. This means I get to learn all kinds of new things, from getting much deeper in to css than I ever was able, to .NET, .php, Actionscript, Javascript, Silverlight… for anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about – pretty cool stuff (there, wasn’t that helpful, and deep?).

We’ve purchased a house in Everett, and while our hearts belong in the farmlands of Snohomish, the house is a really incredible gift from God. We’re in the process of finishing the basement, which will become my office and Janene’s art studio – not to mention one of the nicest rooms of the house. 🙂

It’s interesting, but since I’ve stepped away from the store I’ve found my brain working overtime on thought processing again. The Weed Patch is far more than a full time passion and job, and it left (apparently) very little room in my tiny brain for deep thoughts. And it certainly didn’t leave any time for me to gather what thoughts I did have. And, as my close friend Holly mentioned in her blog, I’m finding myself thinking again. Very strange. So, maybe – just maybe, I’ll actually revamp my page and blog again. I have a billion photos to upload, which I’m going to manage and do via Lightroom, so hopefully those’ll come sooner rather than later, but no promises.

Here’s my thought for the day: Slow Down.