Dad Life: Adventure

Creating Experiences

You know what makes life remarkable and memorable? Experiences.  I stinkin love a great experience.  It is a goal in my life to become halfway as good and intentional as my father- in-law.
One of the things he does so well is create experiences for his family.  This man is so passionate about it, he even bought a cabin for his family to use and create memories over the years.
Two memories come to mind as I think about creating memorable experiences.  The first memory happened around Christmas.  My wife’s side of the family got together, as all families do, over the holidays, and we had lots of fun eating great food and hanging out. Well, as it got darker outside, Phil, my father-in-law, told us that he had a surprise for the kids. Now the age range of kids goes from just a handful of months old all the way to high school, so some of them had special roles to play in this.  Phil took the kids outside and told them that he had worked together with an elf from the North Pole to create a little surprise for them, but they had to believe.  He got the kids to say “I believe” once… and nothing happened. He got them to say “I believe” twice… and nothing happened, but on the third time they all screamed “I BELIEVE!!!” and magically, Christmas lights turned on and revealed that the elf had flown all over the backyard leaving little treats everywhere that he landed. The treats ranged from cool light up bracelets, candy canes, to snowman poop, which was the crowd favorite.

The second experience comes more recently from a boy’s trip to the cabin. Now, I could literally talk about some amazing things God did that weekend in another blog post, and in fact, I most likely will, but for now I just want to talk about the experiences that were created to make it a memorable trip for Sam.
The cabin is in Ellijay, GA, but we needed to make a special trip to get a bird feeder for Pops’, what the grandkids call Phil, cabin. After we got the bird feeder we walked around the town and went in the little shops. The last shop in particular was the one of greatest importance though. That shop was Huck’s General Store. This is a kid’s dreamland. When you first walk in you have barrels, BARRELS I TELL YOU, of candy  of all kinds and from all decades, to the most amazing and cool toys you could think of. Well, as we walk to the back of the store we come to the section of Melissa and Doug toys, which if you don’t know what those are, let me do you a favor. Click on the name Melissa and Doug and go get you the best toys ever.

As Sam made his way to the back after seeing all the fantastical things in the shop, his eyes fell on one toy in particular, a wooden fishing pole with magnetic fish.  I mean how perfect is that?  Sam immediately latches onto the toy, won’t let go, and just goes on about “Fishing like Pops.”  Now I know Phil didn’t know if Sam would really pick out a toy, and a fishing one at that, but it was his plan all along to take Sam to this cool little store and he created the opportunity to do something special and fun by ending this trip with a fun gift.

These stories only make me want to step up my experience game and I hope that as the years  go on, I will grow in creating some great experiences for my family and for those in my life. I also know that creating magical experiences all starts with building a foundation of creating the opportunities to make them happen.

Dad Life: Adventure

3 Words To Live By

Just do it.  These words, besides being a part of one of the greatest slogans of all time, are life altering and hard to swallow.

I know for me that there have been countless times that I have been on the cusp of starting something possibly grand and epic, but instead of taking the last step, I stopped right where I was.  So instead of living in Alaska for a year, living in Guatemala doing missions with my wife, serving in the local community, missing conferences, or not taking my son outside on our next big adventure… I never got off the platform.
As we look back at our lives we can think of countless times when we shoulda woulda coulda done something but we chose to squash that burning desire and turn down the volume of three words screaming in our heads, Just do it.  I am not here to blog about regrets though, because in pondering all of these choices, I absolutely love where I am in life and I have had countless adventures like living in East Asia for 6 weeks, setting up mission trips in Alaska for 3 months, supported my wife in her dream of being a stay at home mom, and taken my son on his first hike a couple of weeks ago.  I mention all of this because I know that following these three words is one of the hardest things to do because it is so easy to just stay on the platform of safety and never take the next step.
What I am learning and hearing from those around me, like Allen Butts, is that the best way to start your next adventure, whatever that may be, is to just do it.  Just go outside.  Just start saving money toward that next mission opportunity or future college fund for your kids.  Just go on that trip.
Now I am not suggesting that we freely start doing whatever is right in front of us.  What I am saying is there is in all of us a story that we want to live out and we need to figure out what is going to make us pursue it?  I am fortunate, because I have a great counterbalance to my big dreamer self, my wife.  She is full of more wisdom then I could ever have and she helps me process through life and make sure that what we decide to do, is best for the family.  I know she thinks at times I just go and do things without fully thinking them through, which is made evidenced by the countless times I have forgotten to take my wallet to run an errand or left our luggage before we have gone to the famous Pops’ Cabin.  All of her concern and efforts are well received, because I know that a life thought through with her, is infinitely better than the one I would live on my own.

To be honest, I’m not sure what the next adventure is for me and my family, but I do know it starts with taking a step off the platform of safety. The winds of change are blowing, I just pray we are brave enough to listen to the three words starting to whisper in our ears…Just…Do…It.