Greetings friends and family,
The most difficult part of my days and weeks is waiting. I've learned patience over the past year in a deeper way than I ever thought possible. During everything Kendra went through with the hysterectomy, radiation, chemo, and being tired, I waited for her to be "available". Not just in that physical way, but I waited for her time and energy and attention. I've gladly taken whatever was left over each day, week, and month after she's taken care of doctor appointments, kids, mentoring ladies, time for herself, sleeping, and a whole list of other very important parts of life that are ahead of me.
I died this year and I've never felt more alive. Being a husband is not about Kendra helping me fulfill my dreams. It's about killing my selfishness and self-centeredness and arrogance. To dedicate myself to serving her and my family without any expectation of things being fair or reciprocated or noticed. I figured out that Kendra is a person to discover not a project to complete. She is a person to know not a problem to solve. I had to give up that control mindset and truly surrender. It's one thing to know in my mind that I'm not in control of Kendra, but it's a whole different world when my heart believes that is true.
There are very few pictures of Kendra and I from the past year. It takes a huge effort and lots of planning and patience. Part of the reason is that I'm the one who takes all the pictures so I'm not in most of them. And Kendra rarely likes the pictures I take of her so most of those get left on the hard drive. Here's one such rare photo... We pray together. We pray separate. We pray for each other. We pray for others. It's a way of life and after what we've been through in the past 15 months, we know the power of prayer and power of giving away what we have and who we are.
Enough about me, let's talk about the twins... Easton earned his purple belt in Taekwondo! Layla graduated to Free Skate level 3! a few years ago I never would have guessed Easton would be on his way to becoming a black belt and Layla would be performing in figure skating shows. Yet, here they are, neck-deep in their passion and loving every minute of it. I've never once had to tell them to go to practice. They understood from day one that the first time I have to convince them to go to Taekwondo or ice skating, their lessons would stop and they would be free to move on to another sport or hobby.
They support each other with good words of encouragement. Easton waited patiently at the ice rink while Layla finished up her lesson. I'm so glad they each have their own "thing" and are progressing so well individually.
This is the last picture of Easton and Layla as second graders. I picked them up from school on their last day along with our dog, Max. They were much more excited to see Max than me, but I'm perfectly happy with them loving on our fleabag.
We are living a more Biblical life now than I ever imagined. Kendra noticed our married friends were struggling to connect with each other due to work schedules. She offered to watch their three kids at their house for three day while the two of them took a vacation together. I saw Kendra once during this time when we met out for Jamba Juice. For a brief moment we experienced what it would be like to have five kids. Wow. Even just a trip to Jamba Juice gave me a whole new level of appreciation for larger families than we have. It was a sacrifice for all of us, but so very worth it to love our church family in such a tangible way. That's crazy, but I am really proud of Kendra. She could have said, "I'll pray for you two..." or "I'm so sorry you two are having a difficult time..." or "Call me if you need anything?" None of those have as much impact as stepping out and loving on them in such a tangible way. They can't return the favor and we don't want them to. They can't pay us and we don't want them to. That's radical love if I ever saw it.
Easton and I had some daddy/son time together. He busted out his volcano set and we did science experiments together! The funny goggles came with the set and I really like how Easton is concerned with safety. :) He read the instructions carefully and we made a huge mess.
We watched it fizz and bubble and look like a real volcano. This was the highlight of his day from what he told me at bed time. Just doing silly things together means the world to him. I started saying to Easton and Layla the same thing I say to Kendra: "If it's important to you, then it's important to me!" and then I respond accordingly.
We reached a milestone in the lives of parenting siblings. Easton wrote on his sign, "No girls allowed" and hung it on his door handle. Then, when a group of kids came over he added at the bottom, "Except Layla". I call that a win.
Summer is finally here, which means swimming pools and city aquatic centers. Easton jumped off the high dive with no fear. Last year he wouldn't do it until Layla did, but this year he already knows it's not scary so he jumped without hesitation.
Ballerina Layla did some twisty spin thing with perfect form and I'm not surprised one bit. She has a graceful way about her even when leaping from a diving board.
Our church group is growing. I'm not interested in growing the number of people as I am in growing the people. One of the couples has a passion for helping the homeless so we pooled our resources and created 50 care packages of toiletries and useful things homeless people need.
We distributed the bags between the families and are finding opportunities to give them away when we come across homeless people in our day-to-day lives. I'm extremely proud of the way we are getting beyond the four walls of the traditional church to reach people who would never darken a church door. There are so many people we pass every day in the halls at work and in the grocery stores who are hurting and in need. Our group is becoming more intentional about living out what we've been taught for so many years.
That's all I have time for today, but the holiday weekend is coming and vacation is just around the corner!
See you soon