Imminent absence makes the heart grow fonder

The love I have for my kids is a really funny thing. A few days after they went back to school from Christmas break, one of them came home sick (Conner or Cody, I can’t remember which one). For the rest of January and the first week of February they passed around various colds and flus. So basically since the beginning of Christmas break, we’ve had kids home. Fast forward to last Friday when we were finally ready to send them all to school. God decides to grant Austin its one snow day of the year. This led to the weekend and to Monday through Wednesday, when Leander ISD, in their infinite wisdom scheduled a three-day teacher’s conference. Didn’t they know I was ready to have my kids out of the house?

To say the kids were making us crazy was an understatement. This wasn’t like summer, when you know the kids are going to be around. You can mentally prepare for that. But taking almost two months in the winter to have kids at home…well…the mind knows they are supposed to be gone. It does not react well. They were stir crazy. We were cranky.

Today I went to drop them off at school. All of them. Such a blessed moment. Yet I as I watched them run into the school, my heart twinged with a little sadness that they were leaving.

Love’s a weird thing.

A curveball of a different variety

You might notice over the next few weeks I won’t be writing a lot. As life is apt to do, it’s thrown me a curveball. Unlike the usual “kids collapsing the roof” or “late night ER visit” type of curveballs, this one is actually good. Business is booming with a capital B and capital OOMING.

So that’s a nice change of pace from 2008 through 2010. To celebrate I’m taking some more time off of Twitter and Facebook. It was refreshing to do back in December and I think it’s already time for another little sabbatical. I’ll still post here when I can.

Hope everyone else is having a great year as well.

Hollywood is catchphrase crazy

Captain America: The First Avenger is the movie I’m most excited about this year. First, because it’s Captain America. Second, because it takes place almost entirely in the 40s during WWII. How could that not be amazing?

They just released the poster above and you know what’s wrong with it? The catchphrase. Avenge. Really? Not only is that awkward phrasing, it just looks out of place. Except for that word, this poster is a beautiful work of art. I’d hang it in my office.

Hollywood, not everything needs a catchphrase. Sometimes you just create an emotionally powerful image and let it roll.

Why me?

As we sat in the hospital, awaiting Conner’s test results, I thought back to a blog post I had just written the day before. I reflected on the fact that when bad things happen to us, my first thought is usually asking “why me?”

This time we started the day with Conner having severe stomach pain. We took him to the doctor and they feared it might be his appendix about to burst. We rushed him to Dell Children’s hospital. After hours at the hospital (and, I fear, a lot of money) we found out it wasn’t his appendix. Just the flu. They sent us home with nary a prescription drug. So basically we started the day with the knowledge he had the flu and needed lots of Powerade. We finished nine hours at the hospital with the knowledge that he had the flu and needed lots of Powerade.

Seemingly pointless.

God knows we really don’t need the stress of trying to pay for an E.R. visit (Even with insurance, it’s insane. Don’t get me started.) So what gives? For once, I didn’t ask “why me?” I felt like God had me there to pray for people. I wasn’t sure what that looked like, so I would silently pray for people as I saw them. Each time I’d ask God if we could go home now. It felt like I was just talking to myself after a while.

Eventually I had to leave to get the other two boys. Becca called me shortly after I left and told me life could be much worse. She had heard a dad outside our room crying on the phone because they’d just discovered a tumor on his infant daughter’s kidneys.

That was the one we were supposed to pray for.

There was no doubt in my mind that Conner was suffering from the flu at that exact moment so we could be at Dell Children’s Hospital and pray for that little girl and her family. It was one of those moments of clarity that faith rarely affords us. I prayed for them. I asked God to heal her, to comfort their family and thanked him for having us right where we were. Whether he healed her or not, he was using us in his plan and that meant something. I then posted on Twitter and Facebook for people to pray for this little girl.

Days passed and I received a Facebook message from a friend who asked when we were at Dell. I told her and she informed me that she knew the girl I was praying for. She gave me an update and said the one-year-old made it through surgery to remove the life-threatening tumor. I’ll be honest I might have teared up a little. I’m 90% sure it was the allergies. But there’s that 10% that might have been real human emotion.

Why was my son sick? Why did he have to suffer? Why did we have to worry? Why do we have hospital bills?

Why me?

Because God is good and does good.

January 2011 habits

At the beginning of the year I wrote a review of an iPhone app, Streaks. I used it to track some of my habits through the month just to see how I was doing on some things I wanted to accomplish.

In Bed by 11: I have a very bad habit of staying up past midnight at any given opportunity. The thing is, I fully understand that my day goes significantly better if I’m in bed by at least 11. I didn’t do a good job of that in January. It was a great month but imagine how good it would have been if I wasn’t so tired through most of it.

Bible Reading Plan: Every year I start a new one-year reading plan on January 1st. Every year I make it less than a month. I’ll miss a few days, get behind and give up on it. Then the rest of the year is just whatever I want to read with no real plan. It also doesn’t happen as regularly as I’d like. So what’s different this year? I’ve given up on the idea that I have to read it in the mornings. I’m wired in a way that once I’m awake, I want to dive straight into work. I’m much more productive like that. So now I wake up, spend a few minutes praying through the day and then tackle my to-do list. Throughout the day, as I get a few minutes, I’ll read through part of my daily plan. Obviously it’s lasted 31 straight days, so maybe I’ve stumbled on something that works for me and the way I’m designed.

Write 1,000 Words: “Well, Chad, you really didn’t write a lot this month.” Actually, this was a pretty good month for me. The 1,000 words only includes writing for personal projects. Almost every day I write advertising copy and scripts. This is just things I want to write. In January I finished and released a short story and wrapped up the third draft on a 20,000-word short story. I also wrote up the outlines on a few others. Fiction-wise, it was a pretty productive month.

Walk 1 Mile: Shut up. It was cold.