The Path Of The Fatherless

October 29th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

(This post has been adapted from a former iteration of this website and various other websites that reposted it in March of 2010.  Posted here in October of 2012 and edited June 27, 2013)

I grew up fatherless. I saw my dad a few times growing up. I knew his name and whereabouts. I spent about two weeks with him in 1992-ish and he was always very kind to me when we saw each other. I got cards most birthdays and most every Christmas. But he wasn’t a part of my life, was never married to my mother, and we lived many states away from each other most of my childhood. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I began to get to know my dad and to develop a friendship with him. We are a testimony to genetics and I’m proud to be his son.

My mother was young and I was a surprise. I never wondered if she loved me but I also knew she struggled in many ways raising a son herself.

The Long Road Graphic / Fatherless

The path of the fatherless can be confusing and long…

The path of fatherlessness was a long and painful road shrouded in insecurity for me.  It is a path so far off the one God meant for families that I didn’t know I was even on it until I had my own kids. As I’ve been reflecting on my role in my own kids’ lives, it’s proven to be extremely painful for me as I look back on my childhood. So I figured I’d write a bit about it:

I look at my son and my daughter now and I see young souls that need a type of protection their mom couldn’t provide in spite of her commitment and good maternal instincts. They need a structure and authority I alone can provide. They need a dad they respect to hold them with grace when they expect nothing more than justice. These are things my kids can only get from me. For all the beauty and wisdom that is their mother, she provides a separate set of skills and wisdom I can’t offer them. God designed the nuclear family to raise healthy children.

What potential in me was lost not having a father and being exposed to men who were perfect losers? What struggles would have been overcome earlier in life or avoided altogether? What could my father and I have learned from each other? How much less am I equipped to be a father and husband having not had many positive male role models for most of my elementary and Jr. High years? How much relational heartache and how many unhealthy situations as a kid would have been avoided? How did the fear and insecurity that plagued my childhood affect me today? » Read the rest of this entry «

The Great Anger

October 28th, 2012 § 7 comments § permalink

The following post has been adapted from its original posting on a previous iteration of this website, a Facebook note, and other places it was reposted.  I’m reposting it to both keep my thoughts for posterity and in the hopes that it may be encouraging to someone who can, unfortunately, relate.  This post was originally written in December of 2008)

I’ve never really written much about this subject outside of a few handwritten journal entries but my heart is heavy with the subject and I grieve for those experiencing similar or worse situations as I type this. May they feel God in what will be their darkest hours.

There are many things I don’t remember about the day my daughter was born and died. But the things I do remember are burned into my memory.

Rebekah Leigh was born December 10, 2000. My wife was in labor the evening before but didn’t know it and we were busy hosting our annual Christmas Party at our house and having a blast with friends and family. Overnight, however, her water broke and we headed to the hospital thinking that the baby was just a month early.

The doctors seemed concerned because she was breech and “a little early” but assured us that she was plenty mature enough to be born, may need some support for a few days, but would be fine. She wasn’t coming out naturally, however, and they needed to do an emergency cesarean to make sure there would be minimal stress on the baby. We were scared but excited. This was our first child and she was on her way out! » Read the rest of this entry «

Those Beautifully Horrible Moments in Life

September 10th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve had, like most everyone, less than ideal moments that elicit gratefulness later in life. I call them “those beautifully horrible moments in life.”  I faced childhood challenges largely alone, moved out of my mother’s home when I was 14, moved away from friends time and time again growing up, lived with tremendous anger and misguided theology for years as a teenager and young adult.   I see this pain and disappointment as the back of a tapestry over thirty years in the making.

I’ve also had some beautifully horrible moments.  Watching my daughter die shortly after she was born was one.  But the spiritual lessons have been invaluable.  Watching my wife suffer through subsequent miscarriages was horrible.  But we are who we are as a result.

My past is in perspective and seen within the context of Providence. » Read the rest of this entry «

My Brief Review of Ooma Phone Service

July 16th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

I got real sick of paying Mediacom insane amounts of money for a home phone with no voicemail.

So I quit paying Medicom for TV and phone and now only have their internet service (at 20 mbps it isn’t East Coast fast but it’s enough to run our new phone, stream multiple 1080p movies, and still run our iOS devices when we get email, play with apps, etc.).

Rachel and I wanted to make sure the kids had a home phone, however, in case they needed to use it, as they get older and spend time in the house alone more, etc.  At least until we all have cell phones.  So we settled on Ooma.

Image of Ooma TeloI chose Ooma because Consumer Reports said it was a good buy and that they were happy with the call quality and the equipment.  Overall, I concur.  I am very happy with the Telo box, the customer service has been very good, and the call quality is great.  My current cordless phone system works by plugging the base station into the Telo box and I got a wi-fi adapter so I can place the box anywhere in my house I want my home phone to originate from.  I ported my home phone number over to it which cost $30 but the service was great.  I received multiple emails from Ooma letting me know where they were in the process and I didn’t have to do anything but fill out a simple form online.

There are problems, however.  The basic service is free and is plenty for anyone that just wants a basic home phone.  Just want voicemail and a phone number?  You got it!  I wanted, however, to use their mobile app to make calls from my house from anywhere in the world via wi-fi so I spent the $10 on their iOS app and figured I’d use the Premier trial period during our trip to Europe to call home for free when at the hotel.  Didn’t work.  I could get my mother on the phone to talk to my kids for 1-2 minutes tops before the app would cut out, crash, or the quality would get so bad I couldn’t understand them.  It didn’t seem to matter which city I was in, how great the wi-fi spot was, etc.  It just didn’t work very well.  $10 down the drain.

I might have kept the Premier Service for some of the really nice features it has (like $60-99 per year) but one of the biggest draws of Premier are services that I understand would be best used with the Telo handset paired with the Telo box.  You can’t get a Telo handset.  Out of stock.  For months.  So, until they have them available and I can get one cheaper than they were selling them when they first came out, I’m not going to be too excited about upgrading.

I then call to cancel my Premier service as the trial period is ending and I want to keep it free (only pay $3 and change for taxes/govt. fees) but the phone number doesn’t work very well for Ooma.  If you know the options you need to push already, it’s fine.  But if you pull the phone away to push “1” for “customer care,” by the time you get the phone back to your ear, the next set of directions has fast forwarded to the last option (that you won’t need) and it just gets quiet………………no repeating of the options………….silence.

I finally called back a third time after having someone manning their online chat tell me to try option 2 at the beginning instead.  Same fast-forward skipping to the end and silent treatment.  I just hit a “1.”  I hit a “1” again.  Finally got help.  Very friendly, offered me a discount on Premier Service which I politely declined.  I told her about their customer service automation trouble on their phone lines.  I believed her when she said she’d pass it on.  Then I find out I don’t need Premier to use the mobile app so I’m hoping they update it and make it work because that has the potential to be AWESOME!

So I’m sitting here typing this with a good home phone.  Great quality, virtually free, nice box.  If I need technical help or advice, their online chat feature is great.  The price is unbeatable.

So I highly recommend The Ooma with a few caveats – don’t rely on their mobile app (it probably won’t work), be patient if their customer service phone line is quirky (just hit numbers…someone will help), and perhaps wait ’till the Telo Handset is back on the shelves if you think its feature set may be useful.  It’s a young company with a well-designed product, great quality, and it’s almost FREE!

If you really want to cancel your home phone service but just aren’t quite sure, get Ooma.

Loving Your Enemy

February 6th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I said something to a colleague a couple of weeks ago and it has been haunting me ever since. It isn’t a new concept but I’ve never articulated it the way I did this time and it has been rattling around my head ever since.

I told this colleague: “…My goal is that those I work with at the Statehouse who are not ‘believers’ would know that I care more about them than any issue I’m working on.”

When you consider Jesus’ call to love God AND love your neighbor (the sum of the law), this seems obvious, doesn’t it? It’s much harder than it sounds.

Most of us who work at the Capitol, on “social issues” especially, are very cause-oriented people who are extremely devoted to the issues we work on. For example, I believe meaningful Ed reform can’t happen without universal school choice and a dramatic diminishing of public school interest groups’ influence. I also believe with my whole heart one of our greatest weaknesses as a nation is our willingness to kill 50+ million babies in the womb in the name of convenience, some fabricated “right,” or pain avoidance. I work for two clients that share my passion for these issues.

What I’ve observed over the years is that it is too easy to get so emotionally engaged on the issues and advocating for them that you forget about the lobbyist, citizen, or legislator that may be opposing you with an equal amount of passion. We frequently either demonize them in our minds or dismiss them as “the opposition.” we allow ourselves to believe the lie that they deserve something other than love. How can we fulfill Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbor and even our enemies if we allow anything – even our passion for a good cause – overshadow our role to love the person who may be advocating against us?

We must be aggressive in our jobs and effective in our advocacy for justice. We must, first and foremost, love our neighbor. If a lobbyist or legislator doesn’t think I care about them, how can I effectively advocate and why would I expect God to bless my efforts? How will they see Him if I don’t reflect Him in my interactions with them? Can I not reflect my anger at injustice and also make it clear I love them?

If those who work in public policy or politics can love their enemies, so can you.