“In This House” on iTunes!

In this house

A few months my friend Courtney Defoe asked me to write a song in support of her book titled “In This House We Will Giggle”
As she was describing the vision for the book and what it was about… I cut her off and told her I had to go because I had an idea real quick. She was like.. “uhhh.. okay great?!?”
A few minutes later I sent her a iphone recording of the first verse and chorus of this song.
Now to be clear, that doesn’t happen that often for me, but her words inspired me like crazy!!

This is not a surprise though, as Courtney’s heart for the family and her children has always been inspiring.
As clearly evident on her blog that she has had for years (courtneydefeo.com), the scripture memory cards for children…
and now this book!
I know I can’t wait for her book to come out and go through it with my own family.

So, to help get the word out we released this song and the promo video and we hope you’ll check it out!
I think it’s a MUST for any family, that desires to make the most of the days we have with our kids and make our home something more then just a building we eat and sleep in.
The home is the backdrop for all the memories and lessons that will be learned… and I know I want to live these days well and to the full!

So thank you for getting the song and don’t forget on OCTOBER 7 – go get her book!   (Amazon, or anywhere books are sold)

ITunes Link:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/in-this-house-single/id915625194

VERSE 1: 
In this house we will giggle, We will laugh when we get tickled
Cause life’s too short to waste on bitterness
The days will fly and the years will fade, so don’t forget to laugh and play
and make the most of the life that God has given

CHORUS:
‘Cause families don’t come and go
Or turn away when you need hope
When what you have is more then hands can hold
And Don’t forget your not alone
When the road you’re on feels a little cold
The love we share is not in what we own, no
It’s who we are that makes this house a home

VERSE 2:
When the rainy days bring ya trouble c’mon jump around in the puddles
If there’s lemons at your door, pour lemonade
And on those days that you’re mistaken, in this house we’re always forgiven
I know it sounds too good, but it’s something we call grace

BRIDGE:
So forgive, forget with no regrets
put other’s first and give your best
Sing and dance with joy down in your soul

Don’t lose heart when times get rough
Be generous and shine God’s love
And remember…. you’re a treasure worth more then gold

VERSE 3:
And in this house we are learning
That we are all God’s children
And His love for us… it goes on without end

And someday soon before you know
when the years pass by and this house gets old
in heaven we will giggle once again

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Lessons from a Treadmill and Forest Gump

Forrest_BiggestBeard_end
I watched Forest Gump when it first came out in 1994!  I was in 9th grade and as I recall, I had many LOL’s and cried a LOT.
Earlier today I was on the treadmill at our gym and they happen to have Mr. gump on!
I picked up at the part where he is running across America about to finish and see Jenny again & meet his son.
I wasn’t looking for any lessons or inspiration, but it found me… so here’s some quick lessons I learned.

LESSON 1:
Don’t run on a treadmill and watch Forest Gump.
Crying and running make breathing difficult and awkward for you and the muscle-heads watching you.

LESSON 2:
What would the world look like if people forgave the way Forest does when he pursues Jenny and recieves her back after she ran out on him over and over.
“Forest I’m sick.”
He immediately offers his home, offers to take care of her… He takes her back!
What if…

LESSON 3:
Upon sending his son off to school for the first day, as little Forest is getting on the bus, “Forest, Don’t….. I wanna tell you I love you.”
How many times are the last words our kids or our loved ones hear from us something negative… “DON’T”
Forest pauses and seems to remember what he didn’t hear enough of growing up
“I love you”
He gives his son the best thing he can and the very thing he’ll need reminding of his whole life.
The list of “Don’t” is long, the gift of love… not often enough.

LESSON 4:
When Forest is recalling his life journey to Jenny on her death bed, she says, “I wish I was with you”
In reply He says, “you were!”
He says he was trying to do what his momma said and put the past behind you… But as he learned you can’t.  It goes WITH you.
It’s part of you and your story.
Remember, you are influencing people… even when you are running.  It will become a part of your story.
It seems in life, we will be defined by what we run from or what we run to.
So. Run for health and enjoyment, but not to forget your past or in an attempt to leave it behind you.

And above all… Don’t do it on a treadmill while watching Forest Gump.

 

Casey

Soaring

eagle

“Those who wait…hope… trust in God, will find strength.
They will soar with wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”

We are in a season right now that seems unrelenting.
If I gave you all the details it would be too exhausting to read.
However, some quick points for context:
The landlord of the home we rented sold it out from under us with little to no warning, creating what seemed like a chain reaction of events. In the middle of rushing to pack up our home, trying to sell our actual home we owned, my busy travel schedule, tax season, homeschool and a baby due Aug 7… my dad called to tell me my mom and fallen at the gym.
She broke her left femur and right ankle, leaving them in a new reality of wheelchair life and needing to sell their home.

Again, the real exhaustion is in the ever-compacting details, like 60k+ of uncovered medical bills my parents are facing etc, but I’ll spare you the rest of that stuff, because while I could go on and on to explain the challenges and difficulties, some never faced before and some that paralize my heart with heaviness, I want to focus on God instead.

I’ve been thinking about (more like arm wrestling with) this scripture in Isaiah 40:31 quite a lot lately.
Mostly, what it means to “soar with wings like eagles.”

Technically speaking, soaring occurs when an eagle has enough wind resistance to deflect the wind downward so they can be lifted.
It’s not in flapping their wings and trying harder.
In this verse in Isaiah, we are told that waiting on God, hoping and trusting Him, can allow us to soar like an eagle does.

The part I’ve been trying to remember lately, is that this soaring experience only happens in the face of enough resistance (or opposition) to make it possible.
So when I’m feeling overwhelmed and wanting to “flap my wings” as it were, it’s only in the waiting and trusting and moments of being still that I seem to soar over the resistance and experience this strength that goes beyond my exhaustion.

I’ve asked God many times in my life to grow me, help me Know Him more, lead people better, etc…
And so today I’m remembering, that when we want to experience God and know Him more, His word tells us this is how He works, during these seasons of resistance that seem overwhelming… how He orchestrates through hardship and brokenness to show and teach us these truths.

We don’t know how and can’t see it yet, but we have absolute confidence that God is at work. He always is.
We believe we will praise Him on the other side of this and see that He was accomplishing something greater through us that we couldn’t do on our own. I believe it.
We are being provided for by a loving God who even in these seasons is showing us how richly blessed we are.

Ironically, I’m reminded by these lyrics I wrote in a much easier time:
“I’m trusting in You, You always come through, You prove it to me over and over and over again”

I’ll blog more about this later, but for now…

Waiting… Hoping… Trusting… Soaring!

“Forgive? Where’d you get that crazy idea?!?”

I posted part of this story on twitter yesterday:

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 10.53.46 AM

NOTE:  The hashtag is courtesy of my friend Carlos Whittaker and his new book “Moment Maker” – check it out!

So, It was the strangest way to start my day to say the least. But it was a moment maker for sure.

First, you need the back story…
As I pulled up to Anytime Fitness, there was a guy outside, desparately trying to get someone’s attention to let him in.
He had gone for a run, leaving all his clothes for work in the gym and his key fob was broke.

He had been trying to get the attention of a man inside that could clearly see him, but pretended otherwise. Keep in mind, it’s a SMALL gym with no where to hide. He was 100% being ignored.

So when I let him in, he bolted to the showers to clean up and head to work, as he was now late.
But in passing the gentlemen that had been ignoring him, he said,
“Hey thanks for ignoring me! I’m late for work now, you could have at least come to the window so I could explain, I’m obviously not trying to rob you.” (his words verbatim)

I remember the tension I felt when it began, but thinking how angry I would have been
if someone ignored me and I was late. Anyone would be!

That’s when the real fight began.

The older gentlemen (72) wasn’t hearing it and as the intensity grew, so did the name calling.
They were all up in each other’s faces.
Sometime during the escalating threats and shoving is when I stepped in.

Let’s be honest. His anger at being locked out and not helped back in was justified.
It was 9am, in a very public area and in broad day light. Not a scary situation at all.
But the gym is the worst place to have a non-testosterone induced civil interaction.

So once I had them separated, the one guy hit the showers and that’s when the older gentelemen decided to unload on me, all his reasons for not letting him in. So loud he was. So loud.
I tried to explain if he could reverse the roles he would understand why the guy is angry.
But he wasn’t hearing it. He just got angry I wasn’t picking his side. Ugh.

After his 3rd time coming across the gym to vent, I finally gave him the best advice I could think of…
“Look sir, you need to let it go, forgive him what he said, say your sorry, you were afraid & you hope you didn’t mess his day up.”

He replied, “I’m 72 yrs old!!! I’m NOT saying I’m sorry and forgiving him, he called me a blankety-blank-blank this is his fault!!!”

I replied as respectfully as possible,
“You are older and wiser so maybe take that approach, say your sorry and y’all will both have a better day or you can have a bitter day and ruin yourself”
He still would NOT let it go.

SIDE NOTE: picture me out of breath and doing awkward cross-fit excercises during this conversation.

Finally… The conversation drew to an end when he replied,
“Forgive him, HA! Where’d you get that crazy idea from?!”

To which I said,
“Sir, you are talking to a guy who reads the Bible and gets advice from Jesus on this kinda stuff… so… ”

He smiled angrily, muddled some words under his breath and walked off.

I couldn’t believe I said that. But it’s true.
Forgiving someone in that moment is counter-everything that seems natural or what you probably see on a daily basis.
People are quick to anger.
But if Jesus is who I look to and want to be like… he doesn’t give a lot of options 🙂

So I thought it was all done until I went to get my keys to leave.

I specifically remember where I left them.
But yes… you guessed it.
I recall seeing him pacing around where my keys were as his wife sat in the running car waiting.
He came in and out a couple times… I thought maybe he wanted to say something but he didn’t.

15 min later, I go to get my keys and they are GONE!!!
I looked everywhere, but I knew exactly where they were.

I called the owner and continued looking around not wanting to believe the worst…
But 15 min later, said gentlemen of 72, pulls back up to the gym and brings me my keys back.
Hahahaha… I laugh typing this cause it feels like a citcom episode or something.
He said he felt bad, and didn’t mean to.
Hard to believe, as his car was outside RUNNING when he came back in and did all the pacing around.

But nevertheless, I told him no big deal and I’m just glad he realized he had them.
We shook hands and I told him to make the best of the day he had been given.
I said don’t waist it on this kinda stuff.
I could tell he had calmed down and seemed remorseful, but he just nodded, said he was sorry and left.

I don’t know what the rest of his day was like.
I do know his anger won, but what did it win him?

Right or Wrong… he chose to fight, defend, get angry and bitter…

What would have happened though, if before the guy left the gym, he went to him and said,
“Hey I’m sorry about that. I was afraid being in here. I should have let you in. I hope I didn’t make you too late for work.”

The fight would have been diffused and shut down.
He would have shortly after experienced the FREEDOM that comes with FORGIVENESS.

Both men had incredible power in that moment.
It’s the power we all have access to but forget about in the heat of a moment.
Responding in love. Offering forgiveness or asking to be forgiven.

Love and Forgiveness can accomplish so much more then hate, and in the end we find it was our own selves we were setting free.

“Yeah Casey, but that’s crazy, you don’t know what they did and what they deserve!”

You are right, I don’t. And I don’t put this into action near as often as I should.
I only know the power of what forgiveness can do.
And it is always an option. Hard to say and I pray I’m not tested in typing that 😉

But I learned a lot watching that fight go down.
His response has been my own too many times, and just like him, I lock myself in chains of anger and bitterness.

My prayer is that I won’t just forgive, but forgive quickly.
Seems appropriate, seeing how I stand loved and forgiven right where I am.

“It’s not a hollywood dream…”

My bride and I

10 yrs ago, this coming July, I went on the adventure of a life-time and married my best friend Anisa and we began our crazy journey together!
Thus far, a large part of the journey has been spent traveling and moving all over the place pursuing God’s calling on our lives with ministry and it has been awesome!
The point of this post though, is that with every step, Anisa’s encouragement and belief in me has been amazing.
She and my 2 daughters really are my biggest fans and it humbles me to pieces.

However, early on I never promised her it would be perfect.
Contrary to popular belief 😉 marriage “is not a Hollywood dream.”
(Oddly enough, I’m writing this post while on a flight to LA with Anisa to celebrate 10 yrs, since our 3rd little girl is showing up a week or so after our anniversary)

It’s not what we see in the movies or on the magazine covers.
I mean, we are having a blast and in our home we laugh a lot!
But our joy doesn’t come from the absence of issues, rather, it’s right in the thick of them.
The bad news, the bad hair, the bad breath, the unmet expectations and consequences of bad choices… All of it.
But don’t get me wrong, it would be FANTASTIC if in real life, when the movie score comes in, you suddenly figured everything out and all the junk just fixed itself… and all in just under 2 hours!!!

We knew, as with any marriage, we’d have our share of fights.
But what I wanted her to know then and still want her to know today, is that no matter what, SHE will always be WORTH the fight.

So a few years back, shortly after having our first daughter, I had been leading worship at a large youth gathering (Bigstuf Camps) and was now sitting in my hotel away from my family and getting home sick.
So I went for a run and started thinking about how far we’d come and how in the midst of all my dream chasing, this family we have going IS THE DREAM.

Every laugh and smile, every tear and painful heart break, have all been chapters of our story.
A wonderful story that all began with a smile I caught from the other side of the room at church.

So as all this flooded my heart that day, a song began to brew in me and “When you smile” was what came out… with some pop-country flare.
And as the songs says, “When I see you smile, it’s like a melody I’ve known for a while”
I realized our relationship is like a song I’ve been singing and I realized my family are the most important songs I’ll ever write.
Hope you enjoy the song and may it encourage us all to remember when it comes to our families, we are all song writers!

Download on iTunes

Download for FREE here

“When You Smile” – LYRICS

Verse 1:
I remember all the times we would laugh and we would sing
You’re a girl who loves to dance, I’m a little clumsy
It’s just who we are, were good together not apart

And I know there were sometimes
we thought we wouldn’t make it
But standing here now, Can you hear me saying…

CHORUS
When I see you smile
It’s like a melody I’ve known for a while
It always makes the darkest times seem light
I’m gonna love your for the rest of my life
Yeah, When I see you smile
To be with you I’d walk 1000 miles
Because our love is always worth the fight
I’m gonna love you for the rest of my life… when I see you smile

Verse 2:
And no matter what the heartache or joy the future brings
when the sun is shining down or we cry ourselves sleep
it’s Not Hollywood dream, it’s a lifetime thing

and we may not be a book that’s ever best selling
but this family is the story we’re telling…

(Chorus)

Bridge
it won’t always be perfect,
when our faith if hard to find
know this promise is forever,
every season of our lives

Parenthood: the marriage fight

This clip is from the popular TV show “Parenthood.”

(NOTE:  Not a spoiler. This is a clip from March 13 episode and not the end of the show)

My wife and I are fascinated by this show and the characters.
I could go on and on about various parallels or funny moments that hit home, but this moment in the video below, shut me down.

The show center’s around the Braverman family.
In this current season, Joel and Julia’s are separated and their marriage is in a mess.
Joel isn’t fighting for them and seems to be giving up, leaving Julia and their 2 children broken-hearted.

This clip happens after a big family dinner where Zeek (Julia’s father) learns that Joel is opting out of his role as a godfather to their new baby niece.
Julia is noticeablly broken and we know up till now she’s beend doing everything she can to win her husband back.
As the family is fighting at the dinner table Zeek quietly leaves and head’s to Joels apartment.

The clip picks up with the conversation between Zeek and Joel.

Warning:
Before you watch it, be aware their is mild use of the words “hell” and “pissed” in their conversation.
I wrestled with sharing this and don’t want you to be caught off guard, but in light of the message of this clip,
I also don’t want you to miss it. Don’t let the words distract ya 😉

“When I walked Julia down the aisle, I gave her TO YOU!!!”

“I made a vow to support you and her in that marriage and I took you on as a son.”

How powerful is that?

You can draw your own conclusion from this, but here’s mine…
All of us at some point will experience times when we need someone to fight for us in the confusion of what we may be going through.
Not just quietly consoling, but boldy confronting.
Not just a pat on the back and a “I’ll pray for you” – but actually speaking up and saying the hard things.
Seeing an opportunity to intervene and taking it.
Maybe even helping defend someone from themselves when they are giving up and don’t have the strength.

This conversation stood out to me as inspiration for someone who may need to step in like Zeek did.
The situation may be different or it could be the same and you need to uphold the vow you took and help your kids fight FOR their marriage.
What he says in this is true… you don’t stop fighting for your kids when you give them away.

Imagine if more dad’s did this!
What do you think?

You’ll never know if you don’t try

When I dropped Ava off at school for her first day of first grade… well… I cried.
If you know me, then you know “duh” cause I’m a bit tenderhearted I am.

But as I spent the day thinking about her and reflecting on my first grade days, a certain memory jumped out.
I remember a birthday party I went to where the main activity was riding bikes.
Bikes I couldn’t ride ’cause I was still rockin the 4 wheel bike.
1 in the front, 3 in the back… commonly referred to as training wheels.

So as all my friends jumped on and took off, I remember jumping on and quickly coming up with a story,
“Guys! I’m not use to this bike, it’s got weird pedals, I’ll catch up to ya’ll in a sec, once I… uh… fix the pedals”

I was so embarrased.

I remember sitting there by myself for a long time waiting for the other kids to come back.
Then as they headed back over the hill, I picked back up with the dramatic conclusion of my made up story…
“Whew, where’d y’all go? I couldn’t find y’all but boy I sure had fun riding with no training wheels cause I mean, that’s what I do these days… just me, the open road and no training wheels. Freeze-Tag anyone?!?”
Needless to say when I got home, I made sure that never happened again and had my dad loose the wheels.

Back to Ava.

In light of memory lane, when she got home, I loaded her up with body armor and told her it was time to “try.”
She was nervously excited, but I told her if we don’t try we’ll never know and never learn.

And of course I told her all the comforting things a dad tells his child, as I walked her across the street to a huge yard with deep grass and plenty of room to wreck 😉

What happened next is the video above.
I had NO IDEA she would nail it the FIRST TIME!!!

It was an incredible day that I thank God for letting me be available to experience with her.
Of all the important things in life, as Andy Stanley says, I don’t want to miss out on the one job that’s unique to me…
Being her dad.

However, this whole experience has me asking myself this question today
“what are the things in life I could be missing out on, because I’m still leaning on training wheels?”

Wheels that are keeping me in a shallow sense of freedom and joy.
Maybe wheels in life that are keeping me suspended in fear without realizing it, because life is easier to balance and manage with these wheels on… it’s predictable, comfortable and less risky.

How about you? It could be anything really, that’s become a training wheel in your life.

Maybe a dream unrealized or a gift you’ve kept to yourself.
Maybe it’s something your heart beats for, but rejection has kept you downshifting, letting other people’s opinions decide for you.
It could be a loved one that’s no longer with you and you don’t know how to move on or you’re afraid to.

Whatever it is, the wheels are there to get us up and going… we all need them for a time…
But those training wheels aren’t the REAL ride and aren’t meant to be forever.

Trying can be scary. Trying could mean failing.
But failing can lead to learning and growing if we let it.
I’m not saying to ignore wisdom or wise counsel… I’m hoping this is being read with a base level of common sense.
Let me be clear, I took precautions with Ava 😉
I had her covered in a helmet and pads and she had been “training” for a while.
It was time.
I didn’t want my daughter to fall or get hurt, but I knew the joy that awaited and that it was worth the risk level.

When I watch that video, and see the enthusiasm and joy on her face and when she says, “I DID IT DADDY!”
I believe that’s a picture of the “more” we were made for.

It’s that moment when freedom is realized and all the pain of falling becomes worth it.

So keep working hard, pushing through, leaping and believing… cause you’ll never know if you don’t try.