Someone dear from our church has just shared this amazing video with me. I was speaking to teenagers the other night about the birth of Jesus from Mary's perspective.
A Social Network Christmas
|My Re-written logline|
Over two months ago, we celebrated the miracle of life with our two newest additions to the Barbour family. What a blessing these little guys have been. During the past week, I've been confronted with what it means to live life well. On Sunday afternoon of last week we made the decision to make an emergency trip out to CA to visit my wife's grandpa (Pa). He had been diagnosed with lung cancer at 88 years old, and wasn't doing so well. We all thought it would be a good idea to get out to see him one last time and allow him the privilege of meeting his great grandsons. We were nervous about the trip because it would be the first time we flew with the boys and weren't sure how well they'd do on the flight. Our worries were swiftly ended when the boys slept through the whole flight there, aside from a little time awake to eat. I wish I could sleep that long on an airplane! Maybe if someone would hold me the whole time I could! Just not the guy next to me! LOL!!
When we arrived in CA and headed to the hospital we found Jenni's grandpa in good spirits. He seemed to be doing well in our eyes, but it was tough to see the vibrant, lively man stuck in a hospital bed. We'd been getting some different messages on how long he had left—anywhere from 2 months to 6-9 months to 2-5 years (if chemotherapy worked). Well, the family made the decision to start chemotherapy to hopefully give him some good quality of life. After one treatment, he started to go downhill even faster. Because he was at the hospital, the boys weren't allowed in to see him. We asked the nurses to make a special exception and they agreed so we brought the boys in after what we had heard was a pretty bad day for Pa. We had originally wanted to bring them in on Saturday the 22nd which was his 89th birthday as his birthday present, but because he was getting worse quickly, we thought it best to do it sooner rather than later. When we got there with the little tikes, Pa seemed to perk up. He was on oxygen at the time, but was allowed to take it off for a few minutes at a time to take some pictures. What a sight! His eyes and face lit up to meet his twin grandsons, and many of us couldn't fight back the tears as we watched in wonder and amazement at how things had changed in a matter of minutes. Now that was a great day.
The very next day on his birthday we had to leave and say our good-byes. Pa was non-responsive until grandma started reading him the birthday cards out loud. He would wake up for a minute or two as he was struggling to breath and seemed to hear everything she said. Watching my wife say her final good-bye was one of the hardest things for me. I know that Pa heard Jenni say good-bye even though he never said it back, and I know that one day we will see him again on the other side. And that will be a glorious day.
Pa Hillhouse was a great man. He was strong, compassionate, sincere, and sweet. He loved his wife, his family, and cards. He will be greatly missed.
Every year we are faced with opportunity. Opportunity for a fresh start at a new year. A time where we can look back at our previous year and our previous goals and evaluate what went well and what didn't. As I looked back on last year I was met with joy, excitement, frustration, and disappointment as many days were filled with the gambit of emotions. At the beginning of 2009 I hadn't put much thought into my goals other than I wanted to lose weight and get fit—that's on everyone's list, right? Which is why the gym is WAY too crowded in January, and by March it's back to normal. Last year, I missed my weight goal by 5 pounds when I was at my fittest since high school. Now that I've been eating for three along with my wife, I'm 20 pounds off my former weight goal. That was my only goal for the new year of '09, and by May I was right on target to hit it, and maintained from then until about October.
I turned 30 in December, and as I'm creeping up the hill I am resolute to accomplish my goals and be the absolute BEST version of myself that I can be. I know my 30th year is going to be the best one of my life for a multitude of reasons, but I also know that it's going to take a lot of work—blood, sweat, and tears. Nothing that is worth accomplishing is easy. I've spent more time thinking through my resolutions this year than I have in all my previous years, and I WILL accomplish my goals. In fact, at this point in January, things look promising. I've already put a big fat check mark on one of my financial goals—paying off our credit card this year. We are now free from credit card debt thanks to Financial Peace and Dave Ramsey, and we couldn't be more thrilled. Now that's a HUGE check mark!
Among my goals, I intend to be physically healthy, spiritually mature, intellectually wealthy, financially sound, and pastorally strong. There's a myriad of goals in those categories that I'm still journeying through, but I AM resolute. Among the challenges of reaching these goals, I also have the challenge of figuring out how to be a dad—how to be a great dad. Challenges are quite often met with opposition, but this one will also be met with great joy, and the number one reason that my 30th year will be the BEST year of my life. I welcome opposition. I welcome challenge. I will overcome.
The opportunities to recreate yourself are endless, and you are capable of it at any point in the year, and at any point in your life. Don't just jump on the bandwagon of goals and resolutions because others are doing it, but because you realize that there are opportunities for growth in your own life. God loves you too much to let you stay the way you are. He is constantly at work in your life—Philippians 1:6, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." His work will never be done in your life and in mine; the process of sanctification will continue until you meet Christ.
I guess I could be labeled a "Construction Zone" because I am a work in progress. The work this year is going to be done more often, more swiftly, and more promptly as I am more open to growing exponentially now than I ever have been.