I decided to do something crazy.

I mean totally out of character for me.

If a friend would have asked me “hey, you want to do this with me”, I would of said “no way”.

Last week I decided to start jogging.  Insane, right?

So, today is my 5th day of running.  I’m running for about 30-40 minutes a day.  When I get back from my 30 minutes of jog time this morning I decide to read my Bible.  I open where I left off and glance at the page I just read yesterday: “…Run for your life from all this.  Pursue a righteous life –  a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy.  Run hard and fast in the faith.  Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.”  The funny thing is I just read through this yesterday and never thought anything about it.  I guess my run this morning just made it stick.

At this point in my life I am trying to “Run hard and fast in the faith”.  I fail at this more than I succeed.  There are still things I run for that I shouldn’t.  I’m still running for things like wanting to feel important, wanting to be accepted by people around me, wanting to be perfect.

I’m new to this whole running thing, physically and spiritually, but this verse made me ask myself a valuable question:  What am I running for?

What are you running for?

BTW, the verse is from The Message 1 Timothy 6:11-12

This is when they need us most.

My oldest daughter is 7.  That’s a great age to watch.  They are so independent.  They shower by themselves, get their own drinks, feed themselves, wipe their own bottoms.

I was thinking the other day about all the stuff she can do on her own and how it appears my job as a parent is over.  But then it hit me; my job is really just beginning.

It is in these stages of independence that our kids need us most.  Now that she is developing her unique perspective on the world, she needs a guide more then ever.  She needs me too walk beside her and answer questions about what she is seeing.  She needs me to help her maneuver through life’s rough spots.

And the toughest part of all….she needs me to step back and let her go.  I have to let her fail at things.  I have to watch as she makes decisions that I know (I think) won’t work.  Because that is the only way she will learn.  Actually, that is the only way for her to build confidence.  Yeah, I could follow behind her and tell her over and over again  “that won’t work” or “this is how you do it”.  But she has to accept her choices regardless if she fails or succeeds. And I have to let her know that’s okay.  Man, that is tough.  No one wants to see their child fail, or at least I don’t.

The vocation of parenting is never over.  It just changes with the times.  We parent in stages and each stage is as unique as the previous.

What part of parenting do you find the most difficult?  The easiest?

Guest Post: Mary Polivick

Do you have people in your life who can articulate certain experiences better then you can?  Well, I do and that person is my wife.  This is the first of many guest posts you will read from Mary.  Give her some feedback to let her know what you are thinking.

A day of cleaning up and demo work at a home in Nashville is a big reminder to not get to attached to your dresser, or your flooring, or your TV, or any other material item.  Even those expensive new kitchen cabinets could be out by the road in a heap of trash.  Makes you think how invaluable all our valuables are.

Short list of good time and money investments:

  • God
  • Friends
  • Family

I guess whoever said “the best things in life aren’t things” knew what they were talking about.

What experiences have you had that have made you rethink you perspectives?

“Dad, Tommy just threw mash potatoes on my head!”

This is definitely not what your average supper table looks like.

With all the stuff that we do on an average day; practices, recitals, homework; it’s a miracle we set down together at all.  But when we do what happens?  We get focused on getting the kids to eat their brussel sprouts or drink their milk.

But what if we could use dinner time to connect with each other and have fun.  I recently bought “Family Time Fun Dinner Games” and have discovered that it is actually fun. The suggested games are easy and require little to no prep.  It makes our time at the table more enjoyable and we get to see the creative and humorous side of our kids we sometimes miss in the daily hustle and bustle of life.

My favorite is where we go through the alphabet and name animals starting with each letter.  The great thing about the game is you just pull out a card or two and you’ve got entertainment for the rest of supper.

You can find them @ Amazon and other places online.

How do you fight the stress of dinner time?

“This Is What Cool Looks Like”

cool shirt

This is one of my favorite shirts.  It was a gift from my sister (she gets me the most awesome shirts).

I have recently become an Apple user and I really like them.  My mac, my ipod touch, iphone, ipad.  Okay, I don’t actually have the last 2, but I still think they are cool.  And I’ve been thinking about how cool they are and how cool they would make me.

But then I got thinking about God.  Does he really want me to be that cool?  Well, I’m starting to think he doesn’t.  Because if he did, wouldn’t he find a way to get me an iphone or ipad?  I mean, I really want them (God, I’d be happy with either).

But I guess in God’s infinite wisdom he has yet to declare that Kevin Swartz really needs a new toy.

What do you feel like you want that you’re not getting?

Do you play “hide and seek” with God?

Psalm 139:11-12
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you:
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

No matter what we try to hide from God, he will bring it into the light.  He will push us and pull us and do whatever he can to wrap us in light.  It seems silly to think we can hide things from God, but we sure do try.

What do you try to hide from God?

#orange10 notes

I’m finding that I have little time to edit the notes I took at #orange10.  So I’ve decided to just throw them up on my blog as they are: raw and uncut.

Here are my notes from “Effective Communication” with Doug Fields.

belief of communication: message without a method = MESS
if we don’t pay attention to our audience we can’t communicate effectively

Question: What makes a message effective.
Aristotle: ethos- speaker, pathos- audience, logos- message itself. we need to focus on all 3
speaker character, audience care, message competence (do you understand what you are saying.
Key principle “the audience is sovereign”

questions audience ask:
ethos- can i trust you
pathos- do you care about me
logos- do you know what your”e talking about.
“good communication is well prepared”

making messages STICK:
S – study
T -think
I- illustrate
C- construct
K- keep focused

Study: same time & place, always be collecting resources, skim & identify, organize.
Think: you can’t rush communication. you must plan ahead. “listening with my heart”. The earlier you study, the more time you have
reflect with God.

Illustrate: this is not the meat of your message, but it makes it better. Colossians 4:6. Types of illustrations: testimonies, drama, interviews, video clips, songs, humor, stories

Construct: “How do you organize your material?” make it inductive not deductive. Inductive communication reels them in to the message. Keep it simple: me-you-God-you-we. The you is the power of application, “what are you going to do about it”. how to apply the message to life. “How much of a message should be application?” majority of it. change your points to verbs, which represent actions. *keep focused- reduce the words you use, keep it simple; trim your background material; tighten your intro, transitions and conclusion, what is your connection when telling a story, “did you open the window so they could see Jesus”.

Ecclesiastes 12:9-11 (nlt)