Browse Category: Simple Advice

Fathering Daughters: Guest Post

Today, I am honored to guest post on Matthew Snider’s blog “Geek for Him“. A while back Matthew reached out to me with an idea. He was going to start a series on “Dad’s with daughters”. Each week he would feature a dad who was flyin’ solo at the homestead. That’s right, we are raising only daughters. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to help him out. With three precious angels of my own, I would love to impart any knowledge I can to other parents.

My “fathering” is a work-in-progress most of the time. While that is often the case, there is one thing I am certain about: I am uniquely equipped to raise these three beauties. I wholeheartedly believe that.

So, head over to Matthew’s blog and show him some love in the comments. Thanks!


A Letter to a Young Dustin Valencia

Thanks to some inspiration from new friends Ben and Kevin, I decided to participate in writing a letter to my younger self. In this case, this letter goes out to to my senior year, high school self. Enjoy!

The infamous beans picture.

Dear Dustin,

You are a senior in high school right now, which means two things: you thought Gladiator was the best movie of all time (not a bad thing) and you thought at one point Tom Green was funny (bad thing). To help you decipher what you’re about to experience next in life, here are a few tips that I thought you may find beneficial:

  • For the love of pete, please stop wearing white undershirts underneath every article of clothing. No one thinks its cool.
  • Embrace your inner ska-head. It was something that set you apart.
  • Try not to fall asleep so much in your high school classes. You’ll soon learn about the great beauty of mid-day naps in college.
  • Be more decisive. Form opinions. People pleasing is tiring.
  • Be careful trying to run down your parent’s basement stairs as fast as you can. That is, unless you want to fall on your face and have a right foot the size of a watermelon for a month.
  • Cherish your time at Cornerstone music festival that summer. You’ll make lasting memories and hear lots of good music. Plus, you’ll take a wicked sweet “beans picture”.
  • People (read: family) will make fun of you for spending most weekends at friends houses doing “LAN Parties“. Embrace these times. You’ll make lasting friends and learn a ton about computers (which will make sense later in life).
  • Don’t limit yourself to what others may expect of you. Step out of that box. You are unique and God wants to use you in ways you wouldn’t think possible.
  • Don’t stop playing ultimate frisbee. You’ll look like a tool when your dorm mates in college ask you to play a game and you stink at “tossin’ the B”.
  • Tell your mom and dad thank you (often) for your graduation gift. You’ll wear that guitar out over the next year. It’ll will usher you into experiencing worship in a new and fresh way.

If you had to write out a note to your younger self, what would you include?

Losing Sight of the Finish Line

Wednesday night started out just like any other night: dinner with my girls, bedtime routine, and some quality time with the wifey. Jen and I had decided to check out the movie, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but fifteen minutes into the film I started feeling queasy. I’m not a film buff, so I knew it couldn’t be Nic Cage’s quirky one-liners that had me feeling off beat. Nonetheless, Jen and I decided to retire the movie and call it a night. The thing is, I rarely ever get sick….. as a matter of fact, I don’t even remember the last time I felt queasy. Too bad the stomach bug wasn’t the least bit impressed with my record of physical health. From 11:00-2:30am I must have set an Olympic record in hurdles — jumping hurdles (aka the dollhouse plus accessories that have made their home on my bedroom floor) from the bed to the bathroom that is. It was horrendous, but after that 3.5 hour period, I thought I was good to go. 

It had only been 30 minutes after my bed-to-bathroom half-marathon, that we heard our oldest daughter whimpering in her room. Turns out , Sophia was my competition in the “Olympic hurdling” event that had unfolded that night, but sadly, she never made it to the bathroom because she couldn’t open the door. Fail. In keeping with the saying, “birds of a feather flock together”, we ended up bunking in the bed together for the rest of the night. It was a long night, but as horrible as I felt, I would have gladly taken her “tummy boo-boo” than see her like that.

Around 3:00 AM, wearing Daddy’s undershirt.

 It got me thinking: Initially, I thought the night was going to be all about me, but… it’s really wasn’t about me at all. When I run the race so focused on the “hurdle” (life’s circumstance), I inevitably lose sight of the finish line (the glory of God).  Paul set his sights on the eternal: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

 So often I think that I exist for myself and view life through selfish lenses. How will this decision affect me? When can I do the things that I want to do? Who is going to help me with this project? Instead of living life for the glory of God, I make it about me –my fame, my prize, my interests, my health, my security. The fact of the matter is, that God is passionate about His glory. He wants to make His name famous. God created Israel for His glory (Isaiah 43:1-7). It is because of His love that he is passionate about His glory. As John Piper says, “God’s love for us is not mainly his making much of us, but his giving us the ability to enjoy making much of him forever.” Convicting, huh? 

As a bonus, John Piper tweeted this yesterday. Felt it was spot on. “We do not exist for ourselves.” 


What hurdles keep you from pressing onward toward the finish line?

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