Dichotomy

Tonight as I took my family out to dinner with no concerns as to how I was going to pay for it, as I bought clean, comfortable diapers and new snacks for my kids, as I turned my heater up a couple of degrees because it was cold, and as I crawled into my comfortable bed, I shed a few tears with my wife over the disaster currently repeating itself in airports, homes, and refugee camps across the globe. 

Its very easy to get upset over the worldwide injustices broadcast and mocked all over my social media platforms and news channels. Its a lot harder to routinely muster the empathy necessary to realize this world is always broken, and while not every day professors from American universities get deported off of planes for having the audacity to visit home (how dare they!), every day people suffer in refugee camps, in war torn countries, in poverty stricken areas, and right down the highway from my house. 

There is poverty in Meadows Place. There are refugees in Houston in desperate need of help and friendship. The Super Bowl, that bastion of American Americanism, is also a hotbed of sex trafficking that some metropolitan area willingly brings upon itself every February. This year Houston gets the stain. And yet…where’s the daily outrage? Where’s the Twitter explosion? Where are the daily tears?

I will hug my children a little tighter because of this. I will respect those with differences a little more because of this. I will look longingly towards a different political climate because of this.

But if I do not get up every day and try to make a difference in this world, then who cares. We should be rocked by the injustices of this world on a daily basis, not become numb to them. We should fight those who seek to deny rights to others constantly, not just when Twitter tells us to do it. When Jesus tells us to pick up a cross and follow Him, He asks us to fight alongside Him for the Kingdom we claim to belong to. That Kingdom has no immigration law, has no poverty, has no hunger or sadness or death. 

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28

Dear Declan

Dear Declan,

Today was a bittersweet day. You’re not even 2, so you don’t really understand subtle things, but Mommy and I were both a bit sad today…I think you picked up on that. I’m sorry we brought you down, but thanks for making us smile and laugh anyway.

This was the last day you and I will have together, just the two of us, where you’re an only child. I hope you know how special these Saturday’s have been over the last 2 years. Trips to the store, trips to the park, playing around in the backyard, going to the museum, wrestling, cuddling, watching Mickey/George/Elmo/Sherman/whatever you wanted…I will always cherish those memories. Yes, there were days when we had company and I gladly slept a lot. I needed those breaks for my sanity, but know my heart was with you. I regret spending too much time on my phone/tablet/computer, whether it was for legitimate reasons or not. Watching you play, have conversations with Mickey, discover new things, and then look up at me and beckon me with a “Daddy see?”…these are things I will miss, things that happen all the time and yet never often enough. I’ll never get tired of your smile, your laugh, your hugs and kisses…I get tired of life and the junk that comes with being an adult, but you make those things worthwhile. I’m sorry I don’t show you that enough. I’m working on it.

I will love Riley just as much as you. I will love you just as much as Riley. It might seem like I’m showing her more attention than you, but she’s little and needs help. You’re a big boy, capable of so many marvelous things, and you’ll show Riley the way to be amazing just like her big brother. But for now she’ll need to be held, to be fed, to be changed, to be soothed…all things I did for you and loved every second of it. 

I cannot even fathom what life will look like in three weeks when Riley is here. I don’t understand how my heart continually gains the capacity to love you more and more each day, and I certainly don’t understand how it will be able to do that for two of you. But it will, and I need you to trust me on that. You trust me to care for you, to catch you when you jump off the table, to rescue you when Mommy’s being mean and trying to make you go to sleep/take a bath/eat vegetables…trust me that you are my best friend.

Thank you for spending time with me and making me into a better man. We’ll hang out a lot over the next decades, but it won’t be the same. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way life is. Riley will make our family special in ways we can’t imagine, and you two will have so much fun over your lifetimes together…I’ve been there. I know how incredible sisters are. But when you look up at me and beckon, and I’m looking at her instead of you…

Know this:

I still love you. I’ll always love you.  You will always be my little boy, my buddy, my son. 

Love, Daddy

Day 78–Habakkuk

I weighed in at 253.6. Who cares.

The world is a terrible, horrible place. As more videos, witness testimonies, and stories roll in about Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and others violated by injustice, I felt myself called to the beginning of Habakkuk.

For those of you not familiar with one of the oft-ignored minor prophets with an awesome name, this is NOT a good thing. Being able to compare a current situation to anything out of the prophets is really not great (giant plagues of locusts, piles of bones reanimating, etc.), but for me Habakkuk has always taken the cake.

The prophecy begins with Habakkuk crying out in the face of injustice…a very familiar sentiment right about now. I’ll let him take over.

Habakkuk’s Complaint

Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
    and you will not hear?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
    and you will not save?
Why do you make me see iniquity,
    and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    strife and contention arise.
So the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
    so justice goes forth perverted.

For me, the key here is to keep crying out. God responds–doesn’t always respond in the way we want (like…keep reading Habakkuk after the above text. Chapter 1. I’ll wait.) but He responds nonetheless–but we cannot be silent. We cannot let injustice win, but more importantly (because justice always has two sides…never forget that) we cannot let our fellow humans suffer in silence, or suffer alone.
Reach out to those hurting.
Love those in the throes of suffering.
Speak for the voiceless.
Stand for those beaten down.
Cry for help, and let justice go forth.

Day 68–Fire!

Part of my summer duties last year dealt with the Sugar Land Fire Marshal’s office. They come and inspect various parts of the building to check on being up to code: fire extinguishers and outlets and emergency lighting and blah blah blah. Last year was kind of nuts…broken outlets, wiring running through drop ceilings, expired extinguishers (and extinguishers stashed back in cabinets out of mind and sight) so there were tons of repairs. This year, I was expecting a bit more of the same, because of the ten rooms we have downstairs, 7 of them had “infractions” according to last year. 

Ignored them all. All of them.

This year was all about cutting the power to the building to check emergency backups. Turns out, no one really knows how to cut power to the building. Not completely at least. I know all about getting the power back on, but killing it? Not a clue. So after some finagling and eventually throwing every breaker we could find, we got 95% of the building off. Still couldn’t get some of the lights and exit signs to go off…which is weird.  What are they wired to? Where is that breaker box? Hidden in the department head office? Strange days. But we’re going to pass, so that’s a good thing. I did my yearly duty of making sure things don’t burn down. Go me.

As for eating well…lets just say calories aren’t burning there like I’d want. Some of it is straight willpower, or lack thereof. Some of it I think is plateauing without heavy workouts. Some of it is Houston being HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT and exercising trying to kill you. It’s all combining to a lack of progress, but it’s a marathon not a sprint.

Breakfast–Multi-V Cherry Goodness. It’s good there’s fiber in this and it’s relatively low calorie, because…

Lunch–Freddy’s with Papa Fraser. Had a burger and fries. And custard. Because it’s Freddy’s.

Dinner–Fat Bao! Avocado chips and Fat Fries. And my parents are here, so great company! 

Food win, weight loss fail, try again tomorrow.

Have a good one.

Day 49–Jinx

So…how ’bout them Rangers? It’s officially reached comical levels when the Rangers play the Astros at the BPIA. Homers, misplayed balls, pitchers getting out of impossible jams…I almost feel bad for them. Almost. But then I look at the standings and I feel better about myself. (But seriously…I think the same person in charge of praying for rain seems to be against the Astros. Or Houston in general.)

In other jinxing news, Declan has strep. Unfortunately, I called it a couple of days ago…kinda wish I was wrong on this one. But antibiotics and some cuddles with Kappy will get him back up and running soon! Obviously, all of the adults could use some prayers–Kappy, Abby, and I have all spent a lot of time with the patient, so we’re at risk. And Abby is at high risk being all preggers and whatnot. So hopefully we get through this unscathed!

Breakfast–Multi V Goodness. I’m running low on supplies of that…which is a shame, because its so much fiber and belly-filling goodness.

Lunch–I ended up working through lunch, so I had one of those handy GoPicnic! packs. Plantain chips, an edamame seed blend, ginger fruit and nut mix, and an apricot fruit snack. Hooray!

Dinner–Bowls of awesomeness. Roasted butternut squash, chorizo, rice, and avocado, topped with quick pickled onions and mango salsa. I had two. Because I can.

That’s about it. Pray for my boy, pray for us, and as always,

Have a good one.

 

Day 48–Fever

The best laid plans of mice and men…and then you have kids. Yesterday was supposed to be my first Monday working all summer, and then shortly after I arrived Declan’s school called and said he had a fever. I assumed it was teething, although he was really knocked down yesterday. The bad news is obviously that my boy felt bad…its always tough watching someone you care about when they’re sick, but its worse when its a kid who can’t tell you what’s wrong. The silver lining was definitely that he wanted all the cuddles. And I mean ALL the cuddles. So while I missed a day of work and am probably behind, I spent my afternoon holding Declan watching cartoons. 

It could be worse.

Breakfast–Multi-V Cherry Goodness. Trying to get back in the swing of eating more fiber and spending my calories wisely.

Lunch–Griffin and Joel got wings. I, on the other hand, got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at home with the walking wounded. I mean, the company was hard to beat, but as discussed previously: WINGS.

Dinner–Chick Fil A. Grilled chicken sandwich and a large superfood side.

Dessert–Cherry Garcia FroYo. Surprisingly good stuff, and saves 70 calories a serving over the ice cream version with little to no drop off in taste. So I had a full cup, because why not?

Back at work today, fever’s broken and Dex is home playing with Kappy. All is right…but I will miss the cuddles.

Have a good one.

Day 44–Abilene

We spent some time going over it, and I think this last weekend was one of maybe three times in the last six years I’ve been to Abilene for something that wasn’t a funeral or class. That’s an incredibly long time for such an incredibly important place in my life, and it honestly tarnishes my memories a bit. Just as I will always equate Fayetteville, Arkansas with death, Abilene was quickly falling down a path with no redemption in sight…and then Memorial Day happened.

It was such a great trip!

Getting to see family, watching Declan interact with Evie, eating Abilene food (too much of it, but whatcha gonna do?), even running into friends by crazy random happenstance…it had it all. I definitely wasn’t eating healthy–it rained a bunch, and the “hotspots” in Abilene (no pun intended and shoutout to Los Arcos…I miss you) are all BBQ and Mexican food–but it was good for the soul, and being completely healthy means mind and body. I got to spend some time with my remaining grandparents, hung out with Tyler Barnett one night (dude’s going to India…how awesome is that?), and the pace of life in Abilene is magical. No traffic, no hectic schedules, no craziness. I’m happy to include it in the list of places I call home.

As for food, here’s what yesterday looked like, which I think is technically day 43 (BT):

Breakfast–Three egg omelet with sautéed peppers and onions.

Lunch–FAT BAO. I missed it. Went to lunch with Jason Notoras and Joel and was able to just have some guy time, which has been sorely lacking in the office since some people decided to bail on me. And of course, Fat Fries are delicious.

Dinner–Sausage, roasted onions, and roasted kabocha squash. It’s trumpeted as sweeter than butternut, and maybe I got a starchy one, but it didn’t live up to the billing. Really good and super filling though.

Hopefully I can get back in the groove, and hopefully Houston won’t float away. Pray for those affected by flooding.

Have a good one.