Browse Author: Dustin

A View To Remember

Savannah River, Nov 2011

While we were in Savannah a couple weeks back, I was able to take a breathtaking picture on my phone of the river/downtown area. The view set against the water and clouds was something to remember. And I’m glad I was able to capture this moment with my wife.

I’ve experienced a few of these moments in my life: 1) driving through the Swiss Alps 10 years ago (still have a picture somewhere), 2) standing at the top of Mt. Toubkal in Morocco, 3) Skiing the back-bowls in Vail, and 4) kayaking down a local river with Jen last year.

It’s during these times when I’m reminded by God about how big and generous He is to us. Not just because of our circumstances, freedoms or possessions, but also for the enormously beautiful creation He’s blessed us with.

On top of that, I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to stop and be grateful.

::

Best view you’ve experienced? Better yet–do you have a picture to share? 

A Place Only You Can Go

Jen and I went to the NEEDTOBREATHE show at the Georgia Theater in Athens last night. Let’s just say that getting home past 1:30 AM and running on 4 hours of sleep is so worth it. The show was incredible! Other than not playing ‘Slumber’ (wha!?), each and every song they played was fantastic. The highlight for me was when they went from “The Reckoning” to U2’s “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” to “Stones Under Rushing Water”. The passion, the heart, the harmonizing vocals… certainly a stretch of time I wish I had on video.

For their encore, they played a couple songs up on the balcony/second level. One song I did catch on video was “A Place Only You Can Go” – a quiet, yet strong song with powerful lyrics. If you’re not familiar, here is a snippet of words from the middle of the song:

Take my notions and words to heart
This is the cry of a man
I can’t bring you fortune or noble life
But I’ll love you all I can

Oh I know this song won’t do
Enough to prove my love to you
In my heart you’ll always know
There is a place only love can go
There is a place only you can go

And the song (shot from my phone):


::

What was your first concert? Most recent concert?

I’m A Cranky Runner

Bling Bling!

This weekend Jen and I ran the inaugural Savannah half-marathon. If you’re a runner and enjoy fun races–be sure to check out the Rock n’ Roll marathon series, we’re fans. With most of their races you can chose between the full and half marathon. With Savannah being so close, and this being the city’s “first”, we decided to make a long weekend of it!

Before I share what I want to share, let me tell you one thing: I am a cranky runner.

I pout. I quit. I remain silent.

There’s no other way to say it: I’m a cranky runner.

But, even in my ‘weakness’, my lady loves and prefers me.

She smiles. She presses on. She encourages.

At nearly every mile marker there was an encouraging voice saying, “You’re doing great! Keep it up, D! Feelin’ good!”

In the end, we casually ran 13.1 miles and enjoyed it together.

With the help of Jen, we pressed on and didn’t stop (other than to pee on a tractor–different story for another day).

A little encouragement literally goes a long way.

::

Are you a cranky runner?
Who has encouraged you lately?

Pause

Pause.

Step back.

Take a break.

Time out.

Halt.

Chill.

Whatever it looks like in your life, breaking the routine and getting away is always a wise idea. I learned that again this weekend.

North Georgia Mountains.

I spent a couple days with middle and high schoolers this weekend. It turned out to be a beautiful weekend (above!) to get away. Coincidently, the theme for the weekend was “Pause”.

I’ll be honest–I don’t think I was ready to pause.

My (and my family’s) life has been crazy busy lately. Jen was in Denver for five days last week. Work has been busy. Jen and I are training for a half-marathon in Savannah next weekend. If we don’t have something planned for the evening, we’ve been preparing for something else. Almost seems cyclical.

Then it hit me: in my busyness, I forget to stop. And not just in the big, weekend-type pauses but also in the daily interludes. I get blindsided by my routine and caught up in things to ‘keep me moving’. Am I moving forward or just simply moving?

While the weekend was great (seeing students worshipping, bonding, sharing, etc.), it also provided us leaders an outlet to reflect on our own lives. Personally, I felt God reminding me of his relentless love. No matter the season of life, his love is relentless.

After you hit the pause button, it’s time to press play.

::

When was the last time you “paused”?

Hollywood and the Parent/Child Relationship

My wife and middle daughter were visiting family last week in Denver, which meant it was Daddy Weekend with myself and the other two. We jumped; we laughed; we ate candy. We had fun! I missed them for sure, but I also had a blast spending some intentional time with just my oldest and youngest daughters.

When my wife is gone, usually the one thing you can count on is me catching up on TV shows and movies. What else am I going to do after the kids go down at 8:30? Plus, my wife probably isn’t going to want to watch The Walking Dead with me. I don’t get it — what’s not to like about a zombie apocalypse filmed in our very city of Atlanta?!

As I was catching up on some of this summer’s movies, I noticed a common theme in each and every one: the relationship between a parent/child often plays out to be the most important.

In every, single movie there was a pivotal scene where the father said/did something that impacted the young child’s life, or where the relationship between the two was strained for some reason. Seriously, like every single movie.

Photo credit: Dr. Nomad (Creative Commons)

The movies I watched this weekend (The Green Hornet, Super 8, and Fast Five) reminded me that the relationship between myself and my daughters is built over time. It will, no doubt, face obstacles and hardships, but one thing remains: I am uniquely suited and charged to lead and speak life into their lives. If you’ve seen any of those, you probably know what I’m talking about.

  • Britt Reid (in The Green Hornet) was severely impacted by the way his father specifically treated him after a school incident when he was a young boy.
  • Joe Lamb (the main 14-year old boy in Super 8) learned quickly that the relationship he had with his father changed as a result of a unsuspecting accident.
  • Brian O’Connor and Dom Toretto (in Fast Five) shared a moment where they reflected on their own fathers–how one was completely absent, and another was completely present.

Even the one I watched with my 4 year-old (Mulan) was a perfect example. Mulan’s father concludes the film by saying, “The greatest gift and honor is having you for a daughter.” Talk about speaking life into your child!

To top it off: as a bonus, Jon Acuff tweeted this little gem yesterday.

As I reflect on my long weekend with these two girls, I want it to be marked by more than chewy candy and slippery slides. I want them to know without a doubt that their Daddy will always love and be there for them. I want them to know I am praying specifically for a passion to be sparked inside of them to know and honor their heavenly Father. I want to take every single word and action captive so my life serves as a reflection of the grace and love God gives each one of us — and specifically speak that into their young lives.

::

What parent/child movie scene has resonated with you?

God Never Left Me

When you have five minutes today, watch the following video: The Story of Harlee Lowder.

In it, she shares her story–one of a surprising divorce, gut-wrenching pain, and a traumatic event that changed her life.

Despite all that happened, she knew God never left her (her exact words!).

Wow.

That is great in theory, but would I be able to say the same if something like that happened me?

Multiple times in Scripture we are reminded that God will never leave us (Deut 31:8; Josh 1:5Heb 13:5).

Let us remember today that God’s word does not return voidHis word is truth.

And like Harlee reminded us: No matter the situation, He is there for you.

HT: POTSC

::

When have you clung to God’s truth even when your circumstance was telling you otherwise?

3 Lessons from The Carrot Seed

The Carrot Seed

Sophia received a copy of The Carrot Seed for her 4th birthday last week. I’m not up to speed on classic children’s books, but my wife is. Apparently this 1945 piece of literature by Ruth Krauss is the cream of the crop when it comes to children’s picture books. Let’s just say I cannot disagree with that.

It chronicles the tale of a small boy who plants a carrot seed and, despite others’ telling him “it won’t come up”, sees it sprout into a spectacular, award-winning carrot.

It’s short, uncomplicated and undeniably straightforward.

It’s the perfect book for a four-year old!

As I’ve read the book with my girls this past week, three specific and distinct lessons are conveyed:

1. Simplicity. You can read the book in less than 5 minutes. It’s short and to the point; yet, the lessons conveyed are deep and meaningful. Sometimes we try to over-analyze and lead with the mindset of information-overload (“got to make sure all bases are covered!”), but in the end, a simple phrase can resonate and speak to a person in a much more powerful way.

2. Conviction. The little boy’s faith is steadfast. Even with his parents and older brother opposing his ‘mission’, he remained true to his belief that the carrot would one day sprout. How often do we allow our dreams to be discouraged by a naysayer, or forsake our conviction in what is right for the pleasure in the moment?

3. Persistence. When the possibility of doubt crept in, the boy did not give up. He pressed on in the face of adversity by remaining faithful. The book said that he “pulled up the weeds around it every day and sprinkled the ground with water”. What weeds need pulling and ground needs watering in our lives?

Books like The Pursuit of God, Radical, and The Ragamuffin Gospel are great, but sometimes God uses the simplest of of stories to touch our hearts.

::

What is your favorite children’s book? What do you like about it?

Uniqueness

I’ve never considered myself the creative type. Brainstorming clever ideas and coming up with imaginative plans have never been my strong suit.

I’ve always been the ‘feet-to-the-pavement’ to my wife’s visioneering. She’ll envision the big picture; I’ll get it done.

And would you classify me as a dreamer? Hardly.

Photo credit: Shattered Infinity (Creative Commons)

Creatives are often put in high regards nowadays for good reason: out-of-the-box thinking, expressive, push the envelope…

In the same vein however, I want to be reminded the important words that Paul penned to the church in Ephesus:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

The fact is that we have all been created to bring glory to God.

End of story.

Our identity rests in Jesus alone — in His truths and His work in our lives.

For me that involves remembering that in my own life: that I am fearfully and wonderfully made; specific and unique; loved.

No matter our personality-type, intelligence-level, or inclination to tell a funny joke, we can hold fast to the truth that God has personally crafted our being to bring him glory and honor.

::

Do you consider yourself a ‘creative’?
How are you thankful that God specifically made you today? 

The Blogging Wall

Have you ever felt like you are in a rut?

You know how it goes: same old grind, nothing new to blog about, lack of inspiration.

Hit the wall.

Photo credit: Magdalena Gmur (Creative Commons)

Like a marathoner hitting a wall at 20 miles, I crashed into my wall a little over 100 posts.

I’ve been feeling a need for a new way of thinking and a refreshed perspective.

And then it happened.

In what seemed to be perfect timing, I was able to chat about this very thing with my buddy Michael.

You know what he said? “Get away. Don’t tell anybody; just take a break.”

Then I realized my wife had been hinting at the same thing.

I didn’t post on Wednesday or Friday. And coincidentally, I had vacation days scheduled off from work Thursday and Friday.

I was able to use that time to simply be refreshed — through rest, family, and some quiet thinking.

The next step.

When blogging becomes a chore or simply part of my “to-do” list, I want to take an honest gut-check and re-evaluate my motivations behind it all.

So, I spent some time doing that.

While not as dramatic like a phoenix out of the ashes, I am re-emerging from a quiet vacation feeling refreshed!

::

How do you handle burnout?
What do you do to get ‘refreshed’?