An Open Letter to My Parents

Dear Mom and Dad,

50 years ago you were saying the following words to each other:

For better or for worse.

In sickness and in health.

‘Til death do us part.

I do.

By my calculations it wasn’t too long after you spoke those words and made those promises to each other that I became more than a gleam in your eye. Suffice it to say, I’ve been with you since nearly the beginning of the past half century of your time together as husband and wife.  And I think it’s time you both took responsibility for your actions over the past 50 years.

There are consequences for what we do and the words we speak. You both have been skirting your responsibilities for far too long. It’s time for you to take ownership of five decades of decisions. That’s right…the day you hoped would never come has arrived. I’m airing your dirty laundry! The confessional is open. 

You may not want to believe it, but I hold you both directly responsible for the way I turned out. It’s because of you and the influence you had on me as I grew up that I can’t settle for being a bump on a log. I am not capable of doing just enough to get by. For some reason, I need what I do to mean something and to make a positive difference not only in the lives of those around me, but throughout the world. You made me believe that “it’s not about the money.” And what about this whole giving thing? Whether it’s time, money, friendship, love? Where did that whole concept come from and how did it get instilled into my psyche? That’s right…it’s your fault.

And about the people I have in my life. Really? Did you have to set such an example that it made me search for someone like Lisa to spend my life with? I mean, c’mon! What did I do to deserve someone like her? Then there are these people called family and the ones I am attracted to as friends. People who are loyal, that will back me up when things get tough. They are there through the good times and the bad. They. Just. Won’t. Go. Away!

But it wasn’t enough for you to mess with my life and be done. Nope. You had to do it all over again with Beth. For cryin’ out loud look at the mess you’ve made with her…she works for a clown! Then she married this guy, Shawn. And they’re reproducing! For the love of all that’s sacred she’s going to end up doing all the same things you did to us to Trevin and Zachary!

So it’s time for you to step up and take responsibility for what you’ve done. To look back at your life together and see it for what it really is. Take off those rose colored glasses and take a long hard look. 50 years. 600 months. 18,250 days. It’s your fault. Seriously.

And I love you both for making me who I am. There are no words that can express the depth of my gratitude and my love. May the remainder of your days together be as fruitful as the past 50 years.

 

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Exciting News #2

I started this series a few weeks back with my last post. The next round took slightly longer to come to fruition than anticipated but it has finally arrived. Here we go…

In August, 2003 I began working full time producing videos at Compassion International. I absolutely love the mission of Compassion which is encapsulated in the tagline, “Releasing Children from Poverty in Jesus’ Name.” It’s a noble cause and well worth all the effort.

I came to Compassion after spending 18 years in the broadcast television and video production world, including several years working as my own company. Compassion had become my largest client. I produced videos for several of the relationships that promote Compassion’s work. I directed the 50th Anniversary Celebration for the ministry which ran as a 90 minute special presentation on several Christian television networks. I willingly made the move from running my own business to join the staff when I was offered the opportunity.

But nothing lasts forever. Now, after nearly 10 years, I have resigned my position as Compassion’s Video Production Manager to move back into the world of self employment. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. I still love Compassion’s mission and the work they are doing around the world. But my role has changed over the last several years. As the ministry has grown, more and more processes have been put in place – not necessarily bad processes, but processes that have begun to inhibit my ability to fully utilize the skills and gifts God has given to me. Opportunities for me to grow and make a bigger impact within the organization were not presenting themselves. I began feeling I was being drawn into a new season, similar to what I had done before Compassion, yet different. I struggled to make sense of it. I resisted. I gave in. I backed off. I prayed. I sought advice. More resistance. More wrestling. More prayer. And finally, it became obvious that I needed to make a change. To stop trying to control everything and let God take me by the hand and lead me into this new season.

May 31st will be my last day as an employee at Compassion. On June 1st I’ll be back in the world of freelance and self employment. I’m excited. I’m scared. I feel empowered. I feel nervous. Lots of people have expressed excitement about the possibility of working with me. But the opportunities won’t come until I’m actually available to do the work so I made the decision to make the move. It’s a step of faith but I am confidant that I’m on the path God has set before me. I hope to be able to have Compassion as a client again when the time is right. It has been an honor to work along side so many incredible people around the world striving to fulfill the mission. It’s a bittersweet time. I have made so many friends over the years and am hoping to maintain those relationships. I’m also extremely excited about what’s to come!

The next steps are still somewhat uncertain. Here’s what I do know….I have a name for this new endeavor: 7StoryProductions. There’s some meaning behind the name which I will share in the coming days. The overall plan is nearing completion. There are a few more i’s to dot and a couple more t’s to cross. The domain name and twitter handle have been secured. It’s happening. The wheels are in motion. I welcome your prayers as this new adventure begins. And if you happen to need a video or could use some help with a project please contact me. I’d love to help you achieve your goals – it could be the start of something big!

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Exciting news #1

Last summer I was humbled and honored to be selected to serve on the Elder Board in our church, The Gathering. I knew it was a huge responsibility and was going to add to an already somewhat hectic schedule. I really had no idea what was coming…but it’s been an amazing journey!

The leaders I serve with are incredible, Godly men. We have wrestled with several decisions over the last 8 months and clearly felt God leading the church in some new directions. We were given a vision to be more active in the community we live in…currently we have a very strong international missions and outreach ministry, but the lack of a permanent facility (we’ve set up in a gym for nine years) made it hard to really impact our immediate surroundings. Last fall we thought we found a building we could transform into a permanent church home that would give us a strong presence in the Monument/Tri-Lakes region but soon found the cost to remodel was much greater than we were comfortable spending. The search continued.

In December, Mike, our lead pastor was meeting with Ed, the lead pastor at another church in our area, Tri-Lakes Chapel. They have been friends for nearly a decade and have been mentors to each other over the years. Mike shared the vision we had of making a bigger impact in our community and some of the challenges we were facing. Ed shared the vision he and the leadership at his church had regarding expanding to the south with a multi-site strategy and the challenges involved with that vision. After some continued conversation it occurred to both Mike and Ed that the visions each had for their congregations weren’t really all that different. They engaged in a preliminary discussion with their respective Elder boards about what it might look like if these two churches joined together instead of continuing to operate independently. To make a long story shorter, after months of praying, fasting, deliberating, investigating, talking, praying (and did I mention praying?) a joint, unanimous decision was made by the respective Elder Boards that these two churches would be better together than continuing separately. In fact, the tone of the conversations had changed from “how can we do this?” to “how can we NOT do this!” The idea of the merger was presented to each congregation this morning. Two churches with a common vision joining together to form a new, bigger church yet maintaining a more intimate worship setting by having multiple locations, combining the best each has to offer to further the Kingdom of God in the communities where we live.

It’s not a done deal and there’s still a LOT of work to be done. But in this age where, more often than not we hear about disagreements between denominations, fighting among churches, and congregations splitting over petty circumstances, it is exciting to be part of two churches coming together to be better. Better with each other. Better in our neighborhoods. Better in our community. Better in our world!

There are many more conversations to be had. This won’t be an easy transition for anyone. Both congregations will have to make sacrifices. There will be a sense of loss for people on both sides, especially those who have called these churches home for so long. But the vision for this new church remains the same. We will be better together…to the glory of God!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-11, John 17:20-21, Matthew 6:10

See the video announcement here.

Read more about the proposed merger here and here.

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It’s been such a long time…

February 22, 2011 was the last time I posted on this blog. Seems like it was only yesterday…or perhaps 793 yesterdays ago.

It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. Maybe it’s I haven’t had anything to say that I thought anyone would be interested in. Or maybe I’ve just been distracted. Or lazy.

It certainly isn’t because nothing’s been going on in my life…I’ve been pretty stinkin’ busy, especially for the past 10 months. There’s a lot going on at work. There’s a LOT going on with our church. There’s a lot that’s been going on personally. God is definitely working on me. One could even say it’s been a major overhaul. It’s far from being over, and it’s been awesome!

There’s so much that’s been going on that I don’t know where to start! I think I’ll let a few things trickle out in the coming days, weeks, months instead of dumping it all in a single post. Anyone taking bets on whether I’ll live up to that promise?

Suffice it to say there are big changes coming. Some I will be able to share very soon. Some will have to wait a bit longer. Right now it feels like what’s coming can be categorized as exciting. Sometimes it feels scary. And every now and then it’s even scary-exciting!

Oh, and for those of you wondering, Emilda did GREAT at the Special Olympics. She won a bronze medal in the 200 meter race! You can watch her story here.

I’ll be back soon…and I promise it will be a lot shorter wait before my next post!

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Help Send Emilda to the Special Olympics

Emilda is 18 years old. She and her family live in a crowded squatter community in the Philippines. It’s beside the public cemetery.

Emilda has the mental capacity of a three-year-old child. She is also an athlete.

In 2009 Emilda competed in the 12th Philippine Special Olympics; her performance qualifies her to be part of the national delegation to the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

With your donation she can rise above her circumstances and compete in Athens. This is an opportunity of a lifetime.

Additional Information

For Emilda, overcoming poverty comes in the form of running. In 2009 she competed in the 12th Philippine Special Olympics and won one gold medal, two silver medals, and one bronze medal in Track and Field. Her performance qualifies her to compete in the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece this summer.

Living in dire poverty, her parents are not able to provide for Emilda to compete, even in local competitions. Her church and child development center have absorbed the expenses for Emilda’s local and national competitions. Unfortunately, it’s beyond their ability to help her compete internationally.

The Philippine government cannot financially support athletes competing in the Special Olympics and so help must come from elsewhere.

Her need is $19,857. At the time  of this posting, almost half the money has been raised.

Emilda has trained and worked hard. Her mother and the director of the development center have been her champions. They’ve worked to overcome every barrier they can.

Will you join the effort to give Emilda an opportunity of a lifetime?

Your donations will provide for Emilda’s training and equipment expenses, as well as the travel expenses (e.g., passports, visas, food, transportation, lodging, etc.) for Emilda, her mom and her mentor, who is also the director of the development center and will serve as the family’s translator. Neither Emilda nor her mom have ever traveled outside of their country before.

 

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New York City

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted anything. Quite honestly, I haven’t felt like I’ve had

Taxi in Times Square

much to say. The good news is I took a trip to New York City a few weeks ago and took a few photos that I’d like to share.

Skyline at Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firehouse in Brooklyn

 

 

Inside Grand Central Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was my first trip to New York City. We drove through a corner of New York State on

Flat Iron Building

a family vacation when I was a kid and I flew into Newark several years ago to do a video shoot but had never actually been to the Big Apple. My friend Lee, a seasoned New York traveler, took me on a whirlwind tour that included Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Station, the Flatirons, and Central Park to name just a few.

Grand Central Station

We dined at several great restaurants….Don Giovanni’s for pizza, and 5 Napkin Burger for the second best hamburger I’ve ever tasted.

All in all it was a great first visit to New York City and I’m looking forward to experiencing even more of what she has to offer when I go back. Hopefully soon.

Central Park

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Claire’s First Homecoming!

We went and saw our niece, Claire, as she prepared to head out on her first date and first homecoming dance tonight. We didn’t get to meet Reid, the young man who will get to hold the honor of “first date” for the rest of Claire’s life, but I did take a few photos of her before she left. Here they are!

Katrina & Claire

Claire & Mom (aka Kate)

Katrina, Claire, Kate & Jeff

Oh, how quickly she’s grown up!

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