Browse Category: Family Time

An All-Nighter, Trust, and an Epic Road Trip Playlist

We are doing the “impossible” tonight. Okay, maybe not impossible, but pretty close.

This evening we’re making the 12+ hour trek to Houston through the night… with three kids.

You read correctly: we’re pulling an all-nighter… in the van.

We’ve been packing and getting ready for the last two nights in preparation for this day. Everything is just about set. The bags are packed, the vehicle is serviced, the RockStars are ready to drink.

We can formulate a plan, make provisions, and prepare for every scenario, but when it’s all said and done, we cannot anticipate everything.

No mix tape for us, only playlists!

What if the kids actually don’t sleep in the car during the wee hours of the night?
What if the van breaks down off the side of the road in backcountry Louisiana?
What if I don’t feel like listening to my RoadTrip playlist of AC/DC, Guns & Roses, and Journey?

We can go on and on with the “what ifs”. In a weird sense, those things are constant. There will always be uncertainty, guesswork, and contingencies.

How do we move forward when uncertainty can surface at any moment?

As mentioned in Monday’s post, it boils back down to trust–complete reliance on the One who never changes and always provides.

I’ve been meditating on God’s character lately, and it’s as if He has been telling me to just “trust”–complete confidence in His character. Time and time again, in my life and in Scripture, He has proved that I can trust His character.

When I rely on my own abilities, my own preparations, and my own expectations, I place my trust in myself instead of my Father who deserves it.

On a side note, I will never get tired of AC/DC, Guns & Roses, and Journey.

Photo credit: Rakka (Creative Commons)

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What part of God’s nature have you been thinking about lately?
Longest/most favorite road trip you’ve been on? Best “road trip playlist”?

Baby Juked

Today, I’m honored to share a little story over at Rob Shepherd’s blog: robshep.com.

He’s a witty dude who likes to review movies, detail life as a dad of newborn twins, and write funny posts like this one. Oh, in his spare time he is the Director of Community Groups and Students at Waters Edge Church in Yorktown, VA.

I wrote about the first time I was out-maneuvered by one of my daughters. Stealing a page out of Mr. Acuff’s handbook, I was Baby Juked.

Hop on over to his blog and show him some love in the comments. Thanks for clicking through and giving Rob a little love!

Wowwww

Dear Faithful Reader,

Abraham Chronicles is on a mini break right now. I hope that’s okay.

I am with the family at Lake Hartwell (in South Carolina) until Wednesday, and the wireless internet is spotty.

In many ways, it’s forced me to unplug a little. I hope you get a chance to get away and “sign off” as well.

Family time is important and I want to be reminded that I need to be intentional about specifically engaging my wife and kids in times like these. They don’t come around that often.

Where I'll be until Wednesday evening...

I took a kayak ride out with each of my older daughters this morning and was reminded of God’s beautiful creation. Even though all they wanted to do was jump out and swim, I specifically told them to remember that “God made all of this!”.

They both (individually) responded with their typical “Wowwww”. It was cute.

Until we meet again this upcoming Friday…

Stay classy and stay safe,

Dustin

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What did you do this weekend?
Tell me about a “Wowwww” moment you’ve had when experiencing God’s creation.

Six Years and Counting

This past Saturday, Jen and I celebrated six years of marriage.

Over the last 2,190 days God has blessed us with many things and countless experiences. We’ve done a lot in a short amount of time.

We have laughed til we’ve cried.
We have ran a marathon together.
We’ve prayed for a miracle.
We’ve had a Lord of the Rings all-day marathon.
We have pinched pennies.
We have overspent.
We were nearly eaten by a shark.
We have three beautiful daughters.

In the end, these things are great–blessings, in fact. What I cherish more, however, is how much I love her more each day.

Jen,
I love you.
I can’t wait for what’s in store for us and our family.
Love,
Dustin

Have you every had an all-day movie marathon? If so, what did you watch?

Dating My Daughter

Sophia, my 3 year old, and I love to go to Braves games. We’ve been to three games, in fact; and we have made it a little tradition of sorts. We get there early, grab a slice of pizza and enjoy each other’s company for a few hours. We even make sure we pack the same things each time: grapes, Coca-Cola, and some candy!

This past Wednesday we embarked on our first ‘date’ of the season. I left work a little early to pick her up and head down to The Ted. We left a little later than I wanted to and ended up hitting some major traffic. It was frustrating. Racing through my head were thoughts like, “Oh great, now we’re going to be late and won’t be able to do such and such…. Our night it going to be ruined.” My three year-old didn’t know any differently–she was relaxing on the trip down to the stadium. No care in the world.

Thankfully, traffic finally cleared and we were able to get to the stadium in time (funny how that works). We got there in so much time that the Braves promotions team found us and chose us for an on-screen question to win upgraded seats and a restaurant gift certificate. I was pumped!

Long story short, we got the right answer and ended up with behind-home-plate seats and a $100 gift certificate to a local steakhouse (holla!). They also gave us a “Braves pack”, so Sophia loved getting a new hat and a foam Tomahawk Chop (or as she calls it, a “Hoppin’ Chop”).

In that brief moment, I felt God tugging on my heart. He told me, “Dustin… even in your moments of frustration, I’m here.”

Yes, the night turned out to be a success, but even if we happened to not get “chosen”, I want to remember that God is with me–no matter what. That fact is not contingent on anything I do.

Do you do parent/child dates? How has God reminded you that He was there for you?

Dear Sophie

While this is not a video of my “Sophie”, it seemed to pull all the right heartstrings. Yes, folks: Google got it right.

The ad is brilliant. It makes chronicling our children’s lives a lasting memory and one that they will cherish for many years down the road. Do you agree?

It got me thinking: yes, I can leave my children memories marked by breathtaking pictures and heartwarming videos. But even more than that I want to be the father who leaves a legacy of impact: one characterized by pointing them towards their heavenly Father.

By preferring my wife.
By serving others.
By speaking in love.

…and hopefully make a few dance videos along the way.

What are ways you capture the special moments in your life?

MacBaby

I am an unashamed Apple fanboy.

No doubt about it.

I made the wise choice about a year ago to ditch the PC, and to be honest, I won’t turn back. The other day I thought it would be fun to show my oldest daughter (3) my work laptop. We went through the dock icons and messed around with the touchpad. She loved it. I was a proud papa!

The next day she surprised me with the following gem:

With the exception of the Mashable app, she remembered each one. Wow!

Is she going to be a techie? Perhaps. Is she going to be a Grand Master of Memory? Maybe.

To be honest, I don’t know what “she’ll be”. But I do know what I can do: I can love. I can protect. I can serve. I can be an example. I can pray. I can lead.

Now… to just start working on my almost-two year old and three week old… gotta get them indoctrinated pronto!

Apple or PC? Favorite app?

Zone Defense

Last Wednesday, we had a new addition to the Valencia clan. At 7:17 PM we welcomed Harper Louise into the world with open arms. We didn’t know the gender, so everyone was anxiously awaiting the “It’s a…..” announcement. One of my favorite things is capturing that announcement on video of all the family and friends waiting at the hospital. From that moment on I have been a ‘Proud Papa’, grinningly letting the world know about this precious little addition to our family. It’s been 6 days since then and Mommy and Baby have been doing great!

Cuteness defined.

From that moment on we went from man-to-man to zone-defense. And, our family is changing for the better!

If you have kids, did you wait to find out the gender? Do you have a favorite “surprise moment” in your life?

 

Hitting Pause: A Priority Check

Last December, Urban Meyer cited family as the main reason for stepping down as head coach of the University of Florida football team. Even though this news is over two months old, I believe that his core message (from the press conference) is of lasting importance. While I don’t have the same things pulling me in my life that Meyer did, I do feel that I can relate to his situation as a husband, father, and friend.

The challenge for me today is this: what things do I place in front of the relationships that mean the most to me?

We all know the feeling...

As some of you may or may not know, I am in the middle of a job transition. I am leaving the company I’ve only worked for on Friday (almost 7 years) and joining another the middle of next week. To be honest, it’s both scary and exciting! This is an opportunity that I have been waiting for, and am thrilled to be given the chance to succeed in an area I’m truly passionate about (details forthcoming).

With the longer commute and increased responsibilities, I need to ask myself a couple questions: how will this impact the people I love the most (namely my wife and children)? What am I going to do about it?

My wife read me a quote the other day by Michael W. Smith, that I feel is wholly appropriate: “My life isn’t defined by my music. Music is my vocation. My life is characterized by my relationship with God and my family.” While I am far from a professional musician, you get the point. I want to leave a legacy that is marked by Jesus’ call to, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:19-20). I want to be remembered for how I invested my time into people, not “things”. I want to pursue relationships, make decisions, and give generously in light of the Kingdom. In five years, will I be saying to myself, “I can’t get that time back”? I sure hope not. Today, I’m evaluating my commitment to God, my wife, and kids. Here are three things that I plan on doing over the course of the next three months:

1. Stay regular with God. Everything funnels through this discipline. The time I spend with God directly impacts the other relationships I place value in.

2. Date my wife. Especially with the new baby coming in a couple months, I want me wife to know that I still cherish uninterrupted time with her. I am committed to taking her out and spending “date” time twice a month, just me and her. Also, a friend of mine suggested “couch time”–the first 10 minutes of my time home after work is dedicated to my wife, where we can just talk on the couch.

3. Engage my children. When I come home from work, I want to try to give them my undivided attention. There will be times later in the evening or the next morning, to check e-mail. Put that blasted phone away! I want to slow down and take time to truly hear them and respond… I want them to know that they matter.

As a disclosure, my family is truly excited about this opportunity for me. My wife is the ultimate “I’m in your corner no matter what” kind of partner. To be honest, it would be hard to do much of anything if it wasn’t for the unbelievable support I get from her every single day. With that being said, I need a gut/motive-check from time to time. My prayer is that, through it all,  I would be intentional to not to sacrifice my work for my family.

How can we live like people matter?

Photo credit: josephleenovak

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