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Dad, Just for Fun

Need A Good Laugh?

My dad sent these to me tonight and I thought they were pretty funny…hope you get a good laugh and feel free to leave your own “kid quotes” in the comments!!! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend…

Abby, Dad, growing up, Story

The Runaway

So we reached a parenting milestone that I was really hoping we never would.

Ellie comes running down the stairs holding a picture that Abby drew and she’s crying and shaking it at us. After a few muffled minutes, we calm her down and realize that Abby had told her she was running away.  And she had drawn a picture to prove it. It was the outside of our house, complete with our whole family on one side (except Abby) and her on the other side, walking away.

We were understandably very sad in the picture. She, however, did not look fazed. She got a straight-line mouth instead of a sad one. I think I was waving. It was a pretty rough stick-figure scene.

“Abigail Grace, I need you to come to the kitchen right now so we can talk about this.”

I could hear her footsteps in the upstairs hallway as my mind flashed back to one of my poorly-planned attempts to get attention run away from home.

We had just moved to Cincinnati from Japan and I was about to start sixth grade. Let’s just say my idea of fashion wasn’t necessarily in line with my new American school, but for some reason I had an image of what I wanted to wear and I begged my parents to take me to the mall so I could buy it.

In the event that you’re wondering, the dream outfit included a shirt, skirt, tights, headband, and shoes that were all various and inharmonious shades of magenta.

Magenta. I was always a step ahead on the trends.

So anyway, we went to Sears. Actually I think it was Sears-Roebuck. I don’t know. I just know it was 1988 and it was time to rock some McKids clothing.

In the event that you are puzzled by that last sentence because you were in Benetton or the Limited checking out Outback Red, let me tell you. The real party wasn’t at Camp Beverly Hills.

It was at Sears. Right by Ronald McDonald himself.

And yes, it was a clothing line launched by McDonalds, display complete with a 7 foot plastic cut-out of the red-headed-creepy-clown man. I don’t see how people resisted. I wasn’t that strong, I can tell you that.

I settle on this stunning ensemble (not one that they had put together, and kudos to me for shaking it up) and walk over to my dad to show it to him. Apparently Ronald had marked up his prices a bit more than my dad was willing to pay, and he shook his head and kept browsing.

I was devastated.

So much so that I decided to make a bold proclamation. One that should send fear to the hearts of every parent.

I took my clothes back and said, “OK, fine dad. You know what? You don’t even have to buy anything, so just FORGET IT.” Then, I did the dramatic walk-away. Nothing. He wasn’t budging. Time to step it up a notch.

(Insert “whip-around move complete with fake trembling lip” here).

“Because you know what, dad? I’m not even going home with you. I am going to live here.”

My dad looks around me while I nod my head like I’m confident about my decision.

“When you say, here, sweetie, can you tell me exactly where you mean? Cincinnati?”

Time for the big dogs, people.

“No, dad (fling hair, narrow eyes). I am going to live at Sears.”

Take that, Mr. Stingy.

I could see the breakdown in his eyes. He tried to mask his terror with a stifled laugh but I could see through it. He knew he was about to lose me to Ronald. Man, was he going to regret this for the rest of his life.

He nodded while I considered my brilliant plan. I started thinking it might not be believable so I decided to walk away. Let him think about what he had done and come find me to tell me I could indeed purchase the ticket to popularity.

He went back to browsing without saying another word, so I huffed off and found a spot on the other side of the department. I set my clothes under my head for a pillow and took off my coat to drape it over me like a blanket.

A few minutes later he peeked over the rack.

“Angela, what are you doing, honey?”

“I’m just settling in, dad. Just settling in to my new place.”

I adjusted my body around while pretending to get comfortable. There was a little T.V. playing ads for the clothing line so I continued.  Poor guy. This was going to send him right over the edge.

“I mean look, dad. They’ve got T.V., they’ve got clothes, there are all kinds of nice people, and if I get hungry, I’ll just go on down to the food court.”

“Sweetie you don’t have any money.”

“Someone will help me. Some stranger will care about me and take care of me. You just go on home and don’t worry about me.”

I flipped over, staring at the wall while trying to hear if his feet were walking away.

He kneeled next to me.

“I don’t think this is a good choice Angela. Your mother, myself, and Jennifer are going to be very sad without you at the house. But, you’re a very smart girl and if you think this is the best thing for you, I want to try and help you. Why don’t I leave a little money here with you and I will make sure the saleslady watches over you. Whenever we can, we’ll come back and visit, okay?”

Awesome. Not only was I not getting my outfit, I was going to be living next to a plastic clown.

He actually got out his wallet and as soon as I heard it shuffling around I decided maybe I needed to reconsider my offer. My heart started pounding and I sat up and looked at him.

“I don’t want Jennifer to be sad. She really needs me, you know?”

He nodded, wallet still open.

“Well, kid, I’m going to head out and I’d love it if you came with me.”

I lifted the clothes from under my head and held them out for him to take to the register.

He took them from me and smiled. So really, all my hard work had paid off, despite my little circus scare.

“Thank you dad.”

“Oh don’t thank me, honey. Thank the saleslady. She’s going to help you find the racks to hang these all back up.”

Aaaaaand cue scene.

Abby walks into the kitchen and I hold up the picture. She’s looking at it, looking at me, and seeing how this new revelation is going to shake me.

“Ellie brought this to me, honey. She said you were going to run away and find a new house to live at. I don’t want you to do that, and neither do your sisters or your daddy.”

I paused. After all, I learned from the best.

“But you are a smart girl, and if you think this is a good decision, I will help you. Why don’t you take some time to pray about it and if you still think it’s best, mommy has some very nice friends who would let you stay with them for awhile.”

Her eyes widened.

I got down on my knees and looked her dead in the eye.

“And if you decide that this is not what you want, I would like for you to rip up this picture and throw it in the trash. And I do not want to hear about it again. Understood?”

“Yes ma’am.”

She walked out of the room, and approximately 14 seconds later, returned with a shredded drawing and a new lease on life.

“I’m going to stay, momma.”

“Well I’m glad. Now go upstairs and clean your room like I asked you to an hour ago.”

“Yes ma’am.”

I looked in the trash a few minutes later and started laughing. I could hear her chronicling her failed plan to Ellie and I couldn’t believe I was already on the other end of the conversation.

Later that night, I found her getaway bag in my closet (where she knew I would NEVER find it. Clever girl…). It contained 2 princess dresses, some fake grapes, a stuffed dog and her song-writing notebook.

I have to at least give her credit for the clothing choices.

Ronald would be proud.

Dad, growing up, Kate

No Doubt About It

Because so many of you made a point of noting the resemblance between Kate and me in my last post, I had to show you this picture. I saw it on my Grandma’s nightstand a few years ago and I literally gasped at how much Kate looks like my dad’s sister when she was a child. 
Check it out…..

Isn’t that HILARIOUS?!?!?!?!

And by the way, my grandma made all their clothes and she is particularly fond of this “bucking bronco” sweater my dad has on (isn’t he a cutie-pie?). My dad likes to say that she still makes him wear it to church sometimes. Hehehe 🙂
Had to share…now I’m off to watch a movie with Todd- you all have a great night~
Compassion International, Dad, devotional, India


Have I ever mentioned that my father is a painter? 
He is, and he is incredibly talented. He is also a phenomenal writer, and I could go on and on about awards and things, but the bottom line is that he is just a man who has been gifted in many areas. I did not inherit the art gene (as evidenced by Abby’s recent comment after she requested I draw her a bird, and then earnestly asked why I had drawn a dinosaur instead), but my sister definitely did. She is so creative, and it just spills out of her effortlessly. In fact, she has her own business where she hand-stretches canvases, and then primes them and all kinds of other things I don’t understand because I specialize in Dino-birds.
About two or three years ago, my father pulled out an old easel and decided that after a long respite, he was going to start painting again. He bought all of the paints, the canvases, the whole bit.  He read for hours about theories on color and different approaches to painting, and all the while the canvas sat blank on the easel. I teased him about it, asking when he was actually going to do something instead of reading about how to do it
A few nights ago, the Lord laid the word canvas on my heart, and He beckoned me to be still while He spoke. I knew He was up to something, and of course I had to take others along for the ride, so I called my dad at about 9:00 pm and I asked him if I could come over and take some pictures.  My dad knows that I am weird, so he wasn’t surprised, and luckily we are separated by about 20 houses, so my weirdness only comes with a 2 minute drive. 
We talked a little and I told him that I was going to write a post and I wasn’t really sure what it was going to be about but that I would like to take some shots of his easel and some other things. He helped me move them around while we talked about life and I ended up staying a few hours, just talking to him and my mom about what I was going through anticipating Audrey’s birthday.  

One of the most common questions people ask me is how I got where I am with the Lord- how it is that I have this relationship with Him, and how they can do the same. I always hesitate to respond, not only because I don’t see myself as the ideal Christian (do any of us?), but also because I needed for the words to be God-breathed. 
I have asked the Lord for about a year and a half how to address this question on my blog and He hasn’t given me the words. He is urging my fingers to move, and so my prayer is that these words will speak to you wherever you are tonight…
Several years ago I decided that I wanted to get serious about my walk with the Lord. I wanted depth and conviction. I wanted real and tangible… I think, in essence, I wanted a surefire plan on how to do this thing called Christianity.

Sound familiar?
I decided I would start reading books that would teach me how to fall in love with God, and began with a beautiful book by Jeanne Guyon called Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ. I have comical memories of beginning this book, because the entire point of it is getting to a place where you can really have communion with the Lord, and a lot of that has to do with training your mind to be still, which I quickly realized is, umm, not my strong point. 
I was reading the book in the bathtub with the TV on in the bedroom while I painted my nails. Todd walked in and asked me what I was reading and I started giggling because it was kind of absurd to be multitasking while reading a book on being still. I came to love the book, and it’s one of my all time favorites. After I finished, I dug into about 4 dozen more. It became insatiable-this search for how to love Him, how to trust Him, how to live my life for Him. I would ask people how they did it, and I would go to concerts and feel moved, but still not “get it.” I did everything I could think of to “trigger” the relationship.
When so many people started asking me the same question, I didn’t know how to answer. It isn’t my nature to give giant, complicated Biblical spiels or to make myself seem higher in understanding than others (quite simply, because that is not the way I see it at all).  What I did want, desperately, was a way to communicate to you all how I got here, because I love Who He is to me. But I wanted something concrete because that’s the way my brain works (yeah- broken pitcher, scarlet cord, clay, papyrus, hem, scarf, threshing floor….I think I may have picked up a theme in my devotional-style writings 🙂 ). 
I like tangible things that I can wrap my arms and my head around, and unfortunately, knowing Him and believing in Him don’t really fall into these categories, so how exactly do you tell others to “Just dig in and trust?”
In the days that have passed since I went to my dad’s house, I have been meditating on what the Lord is revealing to me about how I first sought Him. I read every book (minus the Bible, mind you) on “knowing God.”
I was extremely well-versed in theory, but completely lacking in practice.

And to be honest, there was actually great appeal in leaving the canvas blank.  I could stare at it and imagine the masterpiece, without the opportunity to do it all wrong, or worse yet, find that the whole thing wasn’t even real.

As I have let these thoughts rattle around in my brain, I realized that for a long, long time, I liked the idea of Him much more than the real Him. Madame Guyon and many, many others told me how they loved Him, and for awhile that was as good, if not better, as me doing it myself. No risk. I could read about missionaries and see this amazing Savior, but not really have to invest in relationship with Him. 
I just couldn’t take the chance. 
I loved Him from afar, through others. What beautiful potential….I would think….
So as the books piled up, the canvas remained blank.
I realized that the way I had teased my dad was exactly what God was trying to teach me about myself…I was far more comfortable reading than I was “painting.”
I’m not sure of the day or even what led to it, but one day I laid down all the beautiful words that people had given me and I let Him speak. 
And I heard Him. 
The Bible can be an intimidating, big, tissue-ish paged book to many, but when I opened it, I asked for Him to help it come alive for me and it didn’t take long. I realized as I read through Genesis that what I had thought would be boring and dry was actually fascinating, and filled my mind with the kind of images that no other book could. 
And so in a sense, I began to sketch.
Slowly, carefully, and with many eraser marks, the form of my love for the Lord began to take shape, and as I grew in confidence, I pulled out dusty oil paints that allowed me to brighten it, and I started taking the time to fill in details here and there. On occasion, I have taken a step back from the easel and I have seen things I never knew I could paint. He has given me great courage in the darkest of nights, and intense joy in the least likely of places. 
So how do I answer all of those emails, piled in an inbox, asking me how to get here. I guess He just told me…and I want to tell you.
Disregard the manuals and pick up the brush.
As we walked out of his office, the Lord spoke through my dad. 
Neither he (nor I) knew that what He was about to say would speak truth straight to my heart.
“You know what I’m thinking of doing, Angela? I’m thinking of just putting up a blank canvas and just kind of going crazy, you know? Not have a plan for how it’s going to turn out, but just get my brushes out and just do it.” 
He looked hesitant for a moment, because it’s out of character for him to approach life that way, just as it is for me. I want a good idea of where it’s all going. I waited as he thought for another second.
“I really think I’m going to do that.”
I smiled.
“I think you should, dad. I really do. It would be great for you.” I love this precious man because of exactly who he is and has always been. Loving, steady, dependable, trustworthy, and honest to goodness, one of the smartest people I know. I watched him walk down the hallway, his feet turning out the way they always have, and I wanted to cry because I have a father who loves me in a way that makes it easier to believe the way that God loves me. Thank you, dad. You have inspired me since I was a child to do what I am doing right this second, believing I could when I wouldn’t dream of it.
I am sitting in front of a computer screen that I have spent most of my life leaving blank, because I didn’t think that I was really good enough to be a writer. I think about all of the canvases in my days that I have left untouched for fear of failure. Do you have any of those? The ones that you leave in “potential-land” because you can’t bear to have them go wrong?
I think about the greatest masterpiece of all- the God I almost missed because I was so worried about the details. And all He wanted was a daughter who loved Him and wanted to bring Him glory.
So back to the question…how do you get there? 
You won’t find Him in a 17th century book, nor will He ever be truly found on this (or any other) blog. He isn’t found in a great sermon, or even a haunting worship song.  Not even in a Beth Moore study (although she can lead you right up to His throne, it is only you who can choose to bow down to Him).
It pains me to say that even (gulp) the music of David Crowder in and of itself cannot give you the peace that comes from one, solitary moment, when you hand your life over to Him. 
These things can be amazing conduits that allow us to experience Him, and can help us to grow in our faith-but they cannot ever replace the one True God.
You will find Him if you seek Him-He promises us that. 
Tonight, as my eyes tempt me to rest, my heart is beating quickly and with great purpose, because I know Who He could be to you, and I am filled with passion for guiding you to Him.  
Talk to Him, even if it feels crazy. 
Open the Bible and read. Ask Him to reveal Himself in the pages (maybe not Leviticus right away. That one can wait for a little while….)
Listen for His voice.
Watch for the things He is trying to show you.
Dedicate yourself to seeking, and you will soon be swept off your feet by the greatest pursuer of all time.
Even if your hands tremble, pick up the brush and see what He has for you… 
Have I mentioned that my Father is a great painter?
Well, He is.
I am praying that He speaks truth to your heart; the truth that no human mouth can convey, and no hands can quite capture in writing. I am praying that He makes Himself known to you, and that you fall deeply in love with Him. Head over heels, turn over your life and trust Him love. The kind that urges you to live with holy abandon.
One simple suggestion, though.
Don’t bother doing your nails.
They’ll just get messy with paint anyway.
Blessings and love,
P.S. In anticipation of you asking, yes, those color paintings were done by my dad several years ago. The sketch of a baby’s face was going to be Sarah Kate, and sat like this for months. When we received Audrey’s diagnosis, it was too hard for him to continue, and so it hasn’t changed. There is something beautiful about it just the way it is, because it reminds us that there are stages to this process…we will get there. 
We will get there.