Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christi Redeemer

We were in a little Cessna flying over Rio de Janeiro.  It was breathtaking—the hillsides, the boats on the blue water with snow white beaches, the little villas, the Catholic churches with ornate steeples, the Christi Redeemer, and the lush green forests.  It was picture perfect clear visibility, and then...

A bank of clouds. We were cloaked in white, and it was only my sister and I in a single engine plane.  We hardly knew how to operate the thing, much less without visual flight rules. Panic rose inside me.

Enough panic to wake me from my dream. I wasn’t in Brazil.  I might visit a close friend there soon, but I'm not crazy enough to fly around in a Cessna with my sister!

So why did the dream leave me uneasy this morning?  I thought about two women in my life, both undergoing scary procedures today.  

One has an outpatient procedure to figure out why her throat keeps closing in which gives her scary episodes of blocked breathing, and another with a inflammation in her lymph nodes embedded around her lungs. It could mean a dangerous disease.  Both women are mothers with beautiful children who need them just as my children need me.

Illness can hit anyone out of the blue like the bank of clouds in my dream. That's scary in itself, but imagine these women having to trust doctors while they are put under. It's like turning off your visual controls in an airplane and trusting the air traffic controllers. 

4:30 AM.  Their surgeries would be in a few hours. You think, maybe my dream was a call to pray?   

Lord, please carry my two friends today as they go through their tests and surgeries.  Keep them and their families confident in it all.  These procedures take place everyday all around the country and the doctors are well practiced.  Nevertheless, only part of the confidence comes from their skill.  Most of our confidence is in Your Sovereignty, Lord.  Lord, I ask for Your special Presence in those operating rooms, and that these ladies and their families feel that Presence and are covered in warm confidence by It.  That You walk them through every moment of the procedures and move the hands that work on them with such delicate balance that the procedure gives them answers they need and does it in such a way that they are free of pain once the procedures are over— that they recover quickly and have answers from the tests. Answers that put them on roads to solutions that will have them living their lives and mothering their children just as they did before their health issues began in the first place. I love these families, and I love You, Lord, and I pray humbly believing.  Amen.

Amazing how I could then go back to sleep having accomplished what He woke me to do.  Praying for others relaxes your own heart and gives you rest in Him. We are carried in His hands and our protection is ultimately with Him, not in this world.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"We have the best Christmas family!"

Aren't these words every mom wants to hear?   Can you believe I had the joy of hearing this from my eight year old on Sunday evening?

With Christmas music blaring over speakers throughout the house, the four boys and I were on our fifth hour of putting up the Christmas decorations.  I was just marveling at how few arguments the boys had, and how the whole day they stayed focus on the fun of the lights and holly.  No one grumbled.  Everyone helped.  "How is that?" I asked myself, remembering some of the arguments my brothers and sisters and I had while putting up decorations long ago.

I don't pretend that the future might hold something very different.  You never know what will be when there are four boys in the mix.  But for now, we so incredibly blessed.  So blessed.

So blessed.  Those words ran through my head just as Christian, as if to read my mind, looked up from his string of colored lights and said, "Mom, we have the best Christmas family ever!"

"Why is that, Christian," I asked, partly wanting to figure out what's in this child's head to make him say such a random sweet thought, but secretly wanting to find answers myself....  why is it, after the heavy blow our family took two years ago, we feel truley happy right now?  How?

"Because we only ask Santa for one present," Christian answered with a matter-of-fact smile.

From the mouths of babes.  That was Tom's legacy.  Appreciate what we have on our plates and don't demand more.  Just choose to be happy.

Tom and I unplugged that Christmas machine years ago, and decidedly made Christmas cozy and light.  It started years ago when Tom's teenagers told me something that rang true for me.  Christmas became a disappointment when they became teens.  It's only normal - the way people are wired.  When you start young kids off on a diet of present after present after present... mostly affordable toys, they begin to find the glow of Christmas only in the shine from the foil wrapping.  Once the toys for teenagers get more expensive, there aren't as many.  Less foil, less fun.

That's because it was the wrong fun.

It was bling.  Empty bling. That's why we unplugged the bling.  Now everyone gets one present.  Two if you include Santa!   Hey, with four boys, that's already eight gifts, and they're just as happy sharing their toys with each other... it's still fun!

Meanwhile, here's some other benefits!   No more panicking at 1 in the morning on Christmas because we hadn't gotten all those presents wrapped!  Less shopping.  No demands from the kids.  In fact, now that the boys only get one or two gifts, they don't even make lists.   They start to, and then stop and smile and say, "no, just surprise me!"  And best of all, the presents they get are quality.  Like a puppy, or a cell phone, or a cotton candy maker.  Something that can be and is used all year round.

I know what I want this year for Christmas.  For my boys to keep that family bond, forever!

Lord, please give me one gift this Christmas.  Protection.  Protect the family bonds we have.  I love it Lord, that the boys each have three best friends- each other.  They have many other friends, but they love their home.  It's safe, it's happy.  Please Lord, don't give me more, just keep blessing me with what You've already given me!

Merry Christmas!

Here are some of the snapshots that didn't make it on the card this year...

* * *

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shhhhh, quiet... I'm chasing God's Whisper!

After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
1 Kings 19:12

Did you ever have a mini Elijah moment.  I could never compare myself to someone as God fearing and gifted as Elijah, but I’m talking about a mini-moment, where I could relate to the vulnerability in Elijah and needing to go to the mountaintop to be with God. Reginna Dettra has a blog party going on today where she's asking us to give us our thoughts on God whispers.  You can flip on over and check out other writings on the story in 1 Kings.  Here's where the Elijah moment touched me recently.

One Sunday morning I was in that moment.  I guess  I was thinking about how my life has been so busy with the boys lately that I hadn't been out as much.  There I was, busy in a kitchen with a dirty pan full of bacon grease and four boys telling me how great the scrambled eggs were.  “You’re the greatest, Mom.”

The greatest.  I  thought of the romantic embraces I used to get from my husband on Sunday mornings when he made the Sunday breakfasts.   Of course they think I’m great- I’m their mom There are moments when I just want another adult around! 

I tried to turn my attention back to the dishes.  To forget and focus on the job at hand.  God asked me why I hid in my cave.  .  What are you doing here?   I knew  He wanted me to get out of my house and come to His. I left the dishes in the sink and went to church with the boys.

I walked up to the church entry feeling particularly vulnerable.  Like I wanted to talk to a friend-- to feel normal again. In the doorway, an angelic looking blonde woman stopped me, “Didn’t you speak at the church a couple of weeks ago?” 

Yes I had.  Just a quick testimony about God's comfort in my loss.

She was so  kind.  Her three practically perfect looking blonde children, all dressed neatly, darted around her legs.  “It really touched me..” she added, “I’m in a tough place and I needed to hear.....”

Just then, one of my friends walked up, “HI, KITTY!    WHAT’VE YOU BEEN DOING THIS WEEKEND!   WE MISSED YOU!”   I’m writing in capital letters because, unlike the little blonde woman, this friend is bold.  Not a bad bold—bold in a good way.  In a way which makes her well liked at my church-  just so much fun with a wonderfully powerful positive presence.   In my vulnerability, I turned to my friend and soaked in her attention, imagining God, Himself, shouting at me, I LOVE YOU, through this woman.  It felt so good.  Like a salve, covering the lonely hole exposed by a weekend of no social life, just me and the kids.

Guilt nagged at me as the blonde had disappeared somewhere into the building while I chatted with my friend.  She's a godly woman, but God wasn’t calling me to be at church for her brazen praises.  As I sat down in the sanctuary, the loneliness of not sitting next to a husband lingered in my heart and followed me back to the car. Most everyone had left the church grounds.   

Everyone but three neatly dressed blonde children prancing about the front door. Go see her.  I felt the whisper deep in my soul.   I headed for the church.   The blonde walked by.  I was about to stop her when another friend, Mike, stopped me to ask how I was doing.  I didn’t want to be rude so I chatted, missing the woman again.   Mike isn’t loud like my first friend, but he’s so well respected that Mike's reputation practically shouted without Mike himself being loud. Mike talks with everyone, but today, it felt like a God thing that he stopped to speak to me.  Mike and I wrapped up our conversation, and he moved on, packing up his teaching kit from Sunday school and leaving for the parking lot.  

I thought of how how empty I still felt after Mike left.  No, as much as God works through Mike so often, God wasn’t shouting to me through him this morning either.  God wouldn’t leave with Mike, He would fill the hole with living water so it would stop hurting.

The blonde passed me again in the hallway, this time heading for the exit, her back turned.  Go to her.  I knew that gentle whisper which guided me to the unassuming woman. I tapped her on the shoulder. “Hi, I’m really sorry I let myself get distracted from meeting you...”

She turned towards me, a sweet smile on her face.  Her red swollen eyes told me she hung around the halls of the church for a reason.  

My heart sank to hear that her husband was leaving her and her three small children.  Her future uncertain, she declared, as sweet as can be, “but God is certain!  Look how he brought us together to meet.  I was hanging around the halls hoping to make a new friend,” she said.  “I need to connect in this church now that my children and I will be alone.  Jared, my oldest, needs a friend.  He’s 9.”

We glanced out the front door of the building to see Jared and my 9 year old already playing. Instant friends.  Soon we were exchanging numbers.

I walked back to my car finally filled... not by the approval of others, but by God Himself.  I thought about how peacefully this lady accepted the table set before her.   She admitted she was needing friendship and then sweetly asked for it.  Wow was that soothing to me in a way that drowned out my thoughts about myself.  All selfish ambitions… gone.

Shouts from the bold friends didn’t soothe me, but the humble admittance from the new meek one was the whisper from the Lord that I don’t need attention, I only need to remember who I am in His plan.

Thank you, Lord, for the whisper, sent through a pretty blonde with red swollen eyes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Monkeys in Williamsburg

When my friend, Lisa, from Phoenix, wanted to visit colonial Jamestown and Williamsburg, I had vivid memories of the place.  In Richmond, where I grew up, those attractions were standard fare for fourth grade field trips.  I already knew what fun the boys and Lisa's kids were in for.  Here's a quick run down...
When you visit Williamsburg, you can rent costumes for the kids to wear.   Christian and Lisa's boy, Colby, were regular colonial boys with their haversacks, rifles, hats and colonial shirts.  These two looked like identical twins when Colby lived here three years ago.  Especially as four year olds when they both sucked their middle two fingers the same way! Colby has since filled out much more than Christian has.  Christian is still a skinny picky eater, but they still could pass for brothers!  Colby's sister, Charlotte, wore the colonial girl's costume.  What a darling!

Next we headed down Duke of Gloucester Street,  Of course the kids had to stop at the stockades.  It's no fun unless they get to lock up us parents!

At the Capital Building, the kids learned where the seeds of our separation of powers started.  Would you believe that the members of one of the legislative houses were also the justices on the highest court handling all appeal cases?  Surprised us adults, but the kids were more interested in how first time offenders got to choose to go free if they allowed themselves to be branded..  "T" for Thief.  Ouch!

We stopped at the magazine, where the kids got to join the militia.  Here's Colby getting strict instructions from his sergeant on how to properly handle his gun.

We couldn't tear those boys away from watching the blacksmith.  I'm thinking I better be careful.  They were so fascinated that if I don't watch what they're doing, they might try forging something in our garage!

Finally we lunched at the King's Tavern.   Hot soup and cider were welcomed by all of us.  Temperatures were in the frigid forties.  What a shock for Lisa and her kids after seasonal temperatures around the nineties in Phoenix!  Something about cold temperatures while site seeing is just fine with us, though.  It makes the whole experience more memorable!

Coming back home was nice, but something about being on vacation is just so relaxing.  Lisa's telling me she hopes her good mood will last. I see what she means. I'd like to think we could just hold on to those peaceful moments with no pressure but to take in the sites and learn!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ten Crazy Time Saving Ideas for Moms with Boys

Okay, so my friend, Hillary, over at www.theothermama.com wants me to post something crazy.  Check out her list, she's pretty crazy all the time, and I love to read what she's up to!   Flat out running all the time, I feel like I'm always a bit crazy myself.  So here are some of the crazy ways I manage a household of four boys as a single mom.  Hope they make you smile. Maybe you'll think something in here is so crazy it just might work for you!

  • One....   the  Box O Sox....    Once we find a  volume discount, we get 40 IDENTICAL pairs of sox, and get rid of all other boy socks in the house.  Voila! We never need to match.  We keep them clean with a good dose of bleach in the wash and toss each clean sock into the same box- no pairing no rolling, no sorting!  
  • Two...   I Mark my Territory in Pink...  I remember looking over at my stepson's feet when he lived with us years ago.  "Mike, why do you have my Anne Taylor socks on?"  He didn't know any better, they were an elegant coffee color.  I learned my lesson.  When I want something left alone, I get it in pink or at least with dash of pink flowers.  Pink's not my favorite color, but wow it repels boys!   My cell phone skin, my Macbook cover, my socks, my hoodie--all pink!  Pink chases away boys faster than spiders chase away girls! 
  • Three...  I'll be in the car!    Learned this from a genius mom at a dentist office years ago.  With four school aged kids in the waiting room, she stood up and announced, "kids, I'll be in the car."  With that, she calmly left without looking back.  I was shocked.  How could she leave them like that?  Actually, I was a bit jealous, and soon I knew why she had such confidence.  Within seconds, the kids calmly put away their coloring books, arranged their backpacks, and were out the door only steps behind Mom.  No whining, nagging, or fighting.  I adopted her ways from then on.  I still pinch myself-  it works!  I never have trouble getting the kids gathered up to leave.  Just lead.  When it comes down to it, kids really want to follow you.
  • Four...  Assembly Line Groceries:  It's tough enough clipping all the coupons and keeping up with shopping for five.  So when I get home, I leave the unloading to the boys.  They turn it into fun. When I hear them shout, "ASSEMBLY LINE", I get curious and peak in on them.  This is what I find... the oldest grabbing the bags from the car, knotting the handles so nothing falls out, tossing it to the second oldest who's riding a scooter and scoots over to the third who's standing in the back doorway and handing it over to the youngest who brings it to the kitchen counter.   Once the car's empty, they form their next assembly line to the refrigerator or pantry.  In case you're worried, by now I've gotten wise enough to carry the eggs and bread in myself!
  • Five...   Videogamerama Kitchen Clean Up:   Years ago Dad showed them where they can find dozens of audioclips from their favorite video games - like Mario Brothers or Sonic the Hedgehog.   They take turns switching the clips on the kitchen computer from one to another while they work as a team to clean up in the style of the clip.  When Mario's swimming clip comes on, the younger ones "swim" through the counters as they wipe.  When the sped up clip comes on, they rush like little madmen to get the kitchen done.
  • Six...   Count Your Age Pick Up:  With four boys and a puppy chocolate lab (who takes those 'indestructible' dog toys as a challenge, chewing them into a thousand pieces within about 20 minutes), I do have my moments where I simply have to have a picked up house.  When I'm at the point, I simply shout out "Count your age pick up!"   The boys rocket into action, grabbing objects that need picking up (from bits of trash to books that need to be shelved), counting as many as their age.  Within seconds, the house looks fresh and clean! 
  • Seven...   Secret Hideout Devotion Time:  We find a special nook in the house for devotions, like an empty closet we can all fit in (including the dog).  We take our flashlights and a lit laptop and huddle together to make the moment special.  I love this not just because it gets us feeling warm and cozy, but also it keeps the younger ones from having too much space and wrestling around.  We can actually get some cool discussions going on.
  • Eight...   Brotherly Love Bucks: Occasionally we'll resurrect a form of allowance that's based on heart.   Each day they have the opportunity to "earn" extra rewards through character.  Oh, they have to do their schoolwork, chip in with chores, and practice their violin, anyway, but if they have a cheerful heart, they earn dividends on top of it.  The icing on the cake is the brotherly love buck.  They get together and vote, and only one of the four boys gets the buck.  As they cast their vote, they have to explain what that brother did to earn their brotherly love buck.
  • Nine...     Fiddling Around:   I wanted the boys learning an instrument, and when they didn't seem to have a particular one in mind, I figured why not streamline- just make violin part of their school routine.   What a crazy blessing now.   When they get really rambunctious and I need to whip the house in shape, I send them all in the backyard with their violins.  They've figured out on they're own how to play songs together and have a blast.  The oldest now plays "Devil Went Down to Georgia" and all of them can play a decent Swallowtail Jig together.   Other times, like right now, as I'm typing, they decided they all HAVE to practice their violin at the same time, and my house becomes a funky cacophony of four fiddles.  Cracks me up!
  • Ten...    Buddy Brothers:  From an early age, I paired up the brothers.  The oldest with the third, and the second oldest with the youngest.   Makes my life sane and keeps the boys mentoring each other.  At a restaurant when someone needs to go to the bathroom we simply say, "Buddy Brother" and right away, that little guy's big buddy walks him to the bathroom
Hope these were fun to read.  By now you either think I'm nuts or maybe you have a peek at how I survive with my sense of humor intact!  Blessings!

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    Child Whisperer

    "… and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:20 (KJV)

    While praying and preparing for our new puppy last winter, our family watched a weekly TV show to learn about dog training. It's the Dog Whisperer. There's this amazing guy- Cesar Millan, who teaches dog owners how to train their dog using the pack psychology of canines.

    In every show, Cesar looks for the one person in the home whom the dog will see as the leader of the pack. Looking at my family as a pack, no one can argue that without Tom, I'm the pack leader.   Seems I get more than just canine training while watching Cesar Millan. He makes me think about how important my role is, as mom, to be the proper kind of "Child Whisperer".

    Cesar talks about "energy".   He says dogs sense and respond to energy in the room as opposed to understanding what’s being said or done in the room. When my eight year old creates a commotion, Jeb starts to jump in circles and wag his tail.  And when two of my boys argue, Jeb will lower his tail and slink to the side of the room.  If someone in the room is crying or worried, you can see that Jeb's not interested in play or even eating.  He'll sit right by that boy as if to say, "go ahead and hug me.  That's what I'm here for." 

    When the energy Jeb feels in the room consumes him, it's pointless for me to try to teach him anything new.  I first have to bring the energy to a peaceful level if I want Jeb to relax and obey.  Caesar calls that level "calm assertive energy".

    Calm assertive energy.  Isn't calm assertive energy a secret ingredient for helping my children through grief over losing Dad.

    With each challenge of grief brings, the Holy Spirit plainly directs me to respond with confidence. And since that direction unmistakably comes from Him, He also provides the confidence. He fills me with it as I take calm steps to obey and take my role as leader of the pack.  I feel the filling, and joy fills my heart as I look them straight in the eye and tell the boys the Lord’s got their future under control. We are safe in His hands, just as He declares in 
    Matthew 28:20.

    During that first  year after losing his father, Brian, then ten years old, felt a heavier

    weight of grief than his brothers.  It's the age. At ten years old, a child's understanding of death hits with all its weight.    At first I wasn't sure how to help him. When he had a melt down about missing Dad, my natural instincts as a mother would make me want to give in to tears. I'm glad for motherly instincts. They allowed me to curl up and cry and grieve with him- something he needed to know was normal. But Brian has instincts too. He knew that there are safe places to cry, and not-so-safe places to cry. Sometimes in public he needed to manage those tears, saving them until he’s safe at home with me.  Together, Brian and I learned to function through his grief with school and in other areas where life simply must go on.

    That’s where calm assertive energy that only comes from God came in. When one of the boys comes to me missing Dad, I respond with understanding hugs and tears that come easily.  But when it’s time to help a child move forward, I feel this surge of unexplainable peace. It’s only then that I’m able to calmly reassure him without my own eyes welling up with tears. 

    And when the boy responds with calm assertiveness, I'm so rewarded. It brings me such joy to see resolve return enough for Brian to walk into the classroom he needs to join or the violin recital he needs to perform in.

    No matter what helpful tips people offer on raising kids, only one is at the heart.  It’s a God-filled attitude around our home that carries kids.
    Calm assertive energy. Isn’t that what the Holy Spirit offers?  Two years after his Dad died, I have the Holy Spirit to thank for the peace in Brian's heart today.

    Lord, thank you for the one gift that You steadily offer me – peace and calm. The confidence I have in the future isn’t based on this world, but only on You and Your promise that You are with me, even to the end of the world. You give me the vision of seeing these four boys, not as children, but as young men prepared to spread Your glory to the ends of the world. Your Holy Spirit’s calm assertive energy will stick with them, knowing You are with them always.

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    Destined for Greatness

    Christian came crying to me tonight after all of his brothers were asleep.

    “I miss Dad.”

    I held him close and cuddled with him on the couch, waiting in silence for the prompting from the Holy Spirit to help me find the right words that will heal. When it came, the right words seemed so obvious.

    “It’s hard growing up without a dad isn’t it, Christian.” That’s when the tears burst out. In between the sobs he was spitting out words about Dad and come here and died. I couldn’t put it together, but it seemed very important to him. I calmed him down with caresses and then encouraged Christian to spell out what was bothering him.

    “He was trying to tell me something. He said, ‘Christian, come here’. But he died before he got to tell me. I never found out what he wanted to tell me.”

    “You mean in the pool when he was by the wall, he wanted to tell you something?” I asked.

    “Yes, he called my name,” Christian cried, “now I’ll never know.”

    The pain of loss felt so deep to me. So deep. I tried to imagine how horrible it must feel for this tiny child to know that he missed out on his Dad’s final words. But I privately felt relief that Christian didn’t go to him. Imagine the terror Christian might have felt to see his Dad slip under the water with a heart attack.

    Again I waited. Waited for the Lord's prompting. Tell me the right words, Lord. Guide me- this is too big for me to tackle, but nothing's too big for You.

    When again I felt His guidance, the words slipped easily off my tongue without a thought of forming them. They were His words, not mine.

    “Christian, what do you think Dad wanted to tell you?”

    “I think he wanted to show me how to do the four man lift. I never got to do that one and all the other brothers did. I think he wanted to finally do it with me.”

    I thought about how young Christian was in those final years of Tom’s life when the older brothers were big enough to enjoy rough play in the water- being tossed in the air and whipped around in the water. Christian was only five during that time – not a strong enough swimmer for that.

    “I wish you could have tried those games with Dad in the water.”

    Christian got quiet and then started to cry again. This time with a thought that must have been surfacing for a while.

    “No one listens to me,” he quietly said. “When I tell them it’s time for dinner, no one looks up or stops. When the older kids say it’s time for dinner they all go right away.”

    I nodded knowingly. “I know all about that, Christian. Same thing happened to me when I was growing up. Remember how many were in my family?”

    “Eight,” he said.

    “Know which one I was?”

    “The youngest.”

    “I know exactly how you feel. Christian. It’s like that in every family. It’s easier to obey the older ones. It’s only because you’re the youngest. And that will change when you get older. My family listens to me a lot now.”

    Christian looked like he needed more convincing.

    “Christian it’s like this. When you’re the oldest, all you have to do is say do this, and the younger ones do it. How hard is that? But the youngest, like you and I, have to work at it. We have to negotiate, earn respect, and figure out how to get people to cooperate without bullying. That’s why sometimes the youngest ends up being a good leader.”

    Tell him about David, I felt in my heart.

    “You remember David in the Bible? He ended up being the King of Israel and he was the youngest of lots and lots of brothers.” Christian didn’t seem to know this fact.

    “It happened like this. He was such a tiny little kid, that when a prophet of God came to tell his father, Jesse, that God would show the prophet which of Jesse's son was to be king, Jesse showed every other brother to the prophet except for David.

    “The prophet shook his head and said, ‘no, there must be another son because I’m sure God told me the next king lives right here in this home.

    “Jesse finally admitted there was a tiny runt of a kid named David that was out in the field that day but surely, God wouldn’t pick the tiniest.

    “’Bring him here,’ Jesse said, and when shown the tiny boy the prophet felt moved by God to say, ‘yes, this will be the king.”

    Christian’s face brightened, “and then he killed Goliath!”

    “That’s the guy,” I answered, “you see, sometimes it’s being the youngest that teaches you how to be a leader.

    Now tell him about Joseph, I felt prompted.

    “And know who else was a great leader? Joseph. Remember, he was the youngest of 11 when the other brothers threw him in a well. But he became a top leader in Egypt. The youngest in a big family learns how to deal with people because they have to.”

    I felt like that was enough so I just stayed quiet.

    Christian did to.

    Finally, another prompting.

    “Christian, you are going to be great one day. God has a special purpose for you. Who knows, president? I wonder if Dad knew that and wanted to tell you that. Who knows, maybe that’s why he called you over.”

    Christian smiled.

    “You know, Christian, when Dad called your name, he was at the side of the pool already. He knew something was wrong. He had stopped throwing the football with Joe and he wasn’t feeling well. Maybe he knew his body was done. Maybe he felt how incredibly special you are and maybe God told him that there was special greatness in you. Maybe he was so excited that he wanted to tell you. Isn’t it amazing that when Dad was feeling sick and resting by the side of the pool while having a heart attack he was thinking of you? He wasn’t thinking at all about himself. No, he loved you so much that calling you’re name was what he was thinking about. Maybe he just wanted to tell you, ‘Christian, you’re special.’ Christian do you think you’re special’?”

    Christian was decidedly more upbeat now and he nodded. He seemed to choose, at that point, that he was destined for greatness.

    And I think he is.