Saturday, July 18, 2009

American Tradition

On our way to the beach this past week, we happened to "stumble" into a very cool experience. Rapidly approaching our destination (ahead of schedule as you would expect with two goal-oriented people), Kelly and I realized that it was dinner time. Our normal approach would be to grab whatever was most efficient (quick, cheap, and on the same side of the road). However, just as we began to discuss our options, we passed a sign for Waffle House. Knowing that our kids had yet to experience this American tradition, we sacrificed our "Nascar-like" time for some entertaining eats.

As you can imagine, the "scenery" was just as enjoyable as the food. We sat at the bar, described the menu to the kids, and chatted with our Italian waitress (ok, I guess this should be considered an International Tradition). We ordered two All-Star specials, explaining to our kids that you are what you eat. They didn't get it! Our cook appeared from a side booth where she had been hanging with some of the locals. As she prepared our food, our kids watched in awe and asked questions about everything being cooked, and I realized that simple things can still fascinate and satisfy.

As our food arrived it became clear to me that there will need to be some adjustments the next time we visit. Both of our kids went straight for my favorite, the chocolate chip waffle. Ugh....parenting always shows you how selfish you are.....As we left the restaurant, well off schedule, Kelly and I acknowledged that the journey really can be just as enjoyable as the destination! And sometimes we just need a greasy spoon to remind us!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Recently I participated in my friend Joseph's wedding. Throughout the weekend, I was reminded that Joseph and his friends are at a different life stage. Countless hours of basketball, wiffle ball, and college-like goofing around, although fun, wore me out! You see, Joseph is just a "few" years younger than me. However, what stood out most to me that weekend was the relationships between Joseph and his good friends. Guys from his childhood and college buddies shared stories and memories of lasting impact. As they interacted, the strong bonds that exist between them was evident. They truly love each other and desire to see one another grow as godly men.

Observing those interactions reminded me of the strong friendships that I have. As the years pass by, it becomes easier and easier to get wrapped up in the "here and now" and forget about relationships which were once much more prominent. And although the majority of my time and energy is now spent with my wife, kids, students, and people in my local community, I know that the person I am today has been greatly shaped by some of these life-long friends:

- Brad is the brother I never had. Since the age of 5 we competed, laughed and lived together.
- Reggie is the older brother that I always knew would protect me and keep me out of trouble.
- Goldy has shown me the virtue of loyalty.
- Busick has taught me how to encourage others through word and deed.
- BW has always been there to hold me in check and ask about my life.
- Rowland has taught me how to make everyone feel included.
- C-Scott has modeled selflessness and sacrifice.
- D-Rowe has taught me the fine art of listening (I need more of this).

These men are forever a part of my life, and I am truly grateful. Regardless of the amount of time that we now spend together, I know that I have friends for life, and the man I am now has been shaped by who they are. I just hope that it doesn't take another weekend of exhaustion to help me remember this!