When I grow up…

When I Grow Up

Photo Credit: eopath via Compfight cc

A few days ago (April 16), my wife and I celebrated our twentieth anniversary… of our first date. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but I’m one of those guys who remember obscure anniversary like that. I remember it like it was yesterday. Oh, not just because I was finally going out with Aime Johnson. I remember it because we had to end it short so that I could go to the hospital to see my twin brother after he had a bad pole vaulting accident. As a matter of fact, my buddy J.T. took her home and spent the evening with her. Lucky for me, J.T. was a good guy and one I could trust otherwise it could have been our 1st and last date.

My wife and I dated from the time she was just sixteen and a Junior in High School until we we engaged on her eighteenth birthday and married six months later (she was eighteen and I was twenty). 

When you marry young like us you get the advantage of growing up together. To be honest, I have a hard time thinking about my life before my wife, because there really wasn’t much life before her. Eighteen years seems like a long time until you’re pushing forty. Every year since the first year of marriage, I’ve asked myself the question:

What do I want to be when I grow up?

That seemed like such a tough question at twenty. There were so many possibilities. My resume’ had everything on it from a Degree in Bible, to a vast array of coaching experiences, to a license to drive a M113 tank  from serving in the Army National Guard as a TOW missile gunner.

So what was it going to be? A pastor? A missionary? A mercenary for hire?  I had no idea.

At first, the decisions of life and work were easy. Just do what ever you can to make enough money to pay the bills. If the bills were paid, then your family would be taken care of and everything else would fall into place. So that’s what we did. I worked as a hardware rep. for my uncle for many years. I was also a part-time Youth Pastor at my Grandma’s church. I coached 3 seasons of sports at a local school, worked production line at my in-laws. I even went as far as buying and selling artwork on this new website called eBay, and built custom-made barn wood entertainment centers and tables and sold them at flea markets. You name it, I did it. Whatever it took.

Growing Up Irish

Here’s my Irish gift to you all on this St Patricks Day! This is a story that my great Aunt Margie would read to me as a child. Enjoy!


‘TWAS a fine sunny day at harvest time when young Seamus O’Donnell, walking along the road, heard a tapping sound. Peering over the hedge, he saw a tiny man in a little leather apron, mending a little shoe.

“Well, well, well!” said Seamus to himself. “I truly never expected to meet a leprechaun. Now that I have, I must not let this chance slip away. For everyone knows that leprechauns keep a pot of gold hidden nearby. All I have to do is to find it, and I am set for the rest of my life.”

Greeting the leprechaun politely, Seamus asked about his health. However, after a few minutes of idle conversation, Seamus became impatient. He grabbed the leprechaun and demanded to know where the gold was hidden.

“All right! All right!” cried the little man. “It is near here. I’ll show you.”

Together they set off across the fields as Seamus was careful never to take his eyes off the little man who was guiding him. At last they came to a field of golden ragwort.

The leprechaun pointed to a large plant.

REBUILD – Protecting Your Family

Christian Parenting

Photo Credit: taestell via Compfight cc


The roof keeps everything below protected. Just as a bad foundation can cause the whole thing to collapse, a home without a roof won’t stand very long either.

So how do we protect what we have?

This is where we put our boundaries into action.

Luke 14:28

“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?

See here’s the thing. A healthy family does more than just talk about values… they live them out every day. Too many parents claim to value things only to leave them here at the door as they walk out of the home. Here are 3 thing you can do to Protect your family:

Know your children

Each of our kids are unique. They need to be raised uniquely. Not only that, but they also have certain needs. They will respond to you as their parent differently depending on what stage of life they’re in. Each of our children are on a journey. We call it a Journey to Independence.

This is a journey that is good. It’s natural. It’s a great accomplishment. We all started this journey at a very young age age and we journeyed through so many crucial life stages. Early childhood, Elementary School years, Middle school, High School, and on into Adulthood. At each of these stages your child changes. They mature. They grow. Physically, cognitively, they change in how they respond to us. How they listen to us… or stop listening to us.

So here’s the journey we’re on as dad’s and mom’s. We’re journeying through phases of parenting. During each of these parenting phases we’re discovering that we’re having to shift how we parent, how we communicate with our children. Here’s what I mean by that: the way in which we just communicated, our “voice” with our children all of a sudden… doesn’t work any more. Here are the basic voices.

Early childhood – Protector

Elementary – Teacher

Middle School – Model

High School – Coach

Adulthood – Mentor

Know your child… Speak their language.

I’m Heading Back to Ethiopia!

This past Sunday I preached on how God has shaped each of us uniquely (you can watch it HERE). It was a fun message in that it’s always a great reminder that God has given each of us different talents, abilities, experiences, and passions that are unique to us.

Many of you know that my wife and I have a deep passion for the people of Ethiopia. Most of this, of course, has to do with the fact that my youngest two children were adopted from Ethiopia.


Our journey began in November of 2010 when we took our first trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to meet our youngest daughter for the first time. Aime and I both remember that it took us exactly 30 seconds to fall in love with this place. The sites, the sounds, and the smells drew us in, but it was the people who captured our hearts. Now, I often tell people, that a big part of our heart sits over and Ethiopia.

IMG_0587   IMG_3538   IMG_0821   IMG_0748

Several years ago while on staff at Northview Church in Carmel, Indiana I was introduced to Horizon International . The purpose of Horizon is to “create a world of hope for African orphan children whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS.” As you can imagine our hearts we’re drawn to this ministry. I’ve been blessed to have been able to work towards bringing their African Children’s Choir, The Kuyasa Kids, to both Northview and my current church, Fellowship Bible. The greatest blessing we’ve had through Horizon has been housing many of these children during their stay here in the States.

Three years ago my wife and I came to Fellowship. At the time of my higher I informed the Elder Board of our passion for Ethiopia and let them know that when they get Aime and I…they also get Ethiopia. I’m excited to say that after three years this is finally coming to fruition.

This coming October 23 – November 1, I will be going with an exploratory team from Fellowship to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We are partnering with Horizon International in an effort to “create a world of hope for African orphans whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS.” 

After watching this short video about Horizon, I want to ask you to partner with me in this journey. The trip is going to cost roughly $3000.00 and will be approximately nine days long. I want to encourage you to partner with me as a prayer partner by clicking the link below. I have also included a link if you are interested in supporting me financially on this trip.

*Although this is an exploratory trip, I will need to raise the funds in its entirety. As always, I’m excited to see how God will continue our meet the needs as we obey his call to give hope to a broken world… and will keep you all updated.

You can checkout Horizon International (HERE)

Dates: October 23 – November 1, 2014

Prayer Support Goal: 100 prayer partners

Financial Need: $3000.00

Sign Up on the Sidebar to be considered a prayer partner for this trip

Click (HERE) to make a financial contribution to this trip

Thanks for prayerfully considering your partnership and I will be sure to keep this community informed of all the exciting news to come!


My Top 10 Christmas Movies

Ok, it’s time to send out my personal top 10 Christmas Movie list. I thought I’d start with 3 honorable mentions:

Christmas Story

Christmas story

Christmas in Connecticut

christmas in conn.

Holiday Inn

holiday inn



10. Miracle on 34th Street


9. The Santa Clause


8. The Grinch


7. Elf


6. Christmas Vacation


5. Christmas with the Kranks


4. Polar Express


3. Rudolf and Frosty and the gang

frosty, etc.

2. It’s a Wonderful Life

its a wonderful life

1. White Christmas

white xmas


That’s Mine…What’s on your list?