If you’re familiar with my personal story, you know I’ve had my share of tough times. Especially at Christmas. As mentioned in my book Finding Home, the first Christmas after my mom died, I was nine-years-old and living with a foster family. While thankful that I had a place to live, my siblings and I didn’t receive any Christmas presents. None. About all we could do is watch in silence while the children with whom we lived ripped open gift after gift.
At age 29, Blake Mycoskie was burning out in the business world. Having started four successful businesses, often clocking 80 hours a week, Blake decided to clear his schedule–and his head–for a month. He flew to Argentina hoping to recharge his batteries with a little sailing and polo. Off he went unaware that he was about to stumble onto a life-changing idea.
While visiting a number of impoverished villages, Blake was startled to see how many children were barefoot.
I have a friend whose Thanksgiving tradition looks like this. The entire extended family, at least those who live in the area, gather together at the home of one of the relatives. I’m talking upwards of 40 people. The older cousins and uncles rally in the backyard for the annual Turkey Bowl–a rousing game of football, while two turkeys are carved with care inside.
Cakes, pies, and enough pastries to satisfy a king are artfully arranged in the dining room.
If you missed the Focus on the Family broadcast with Pete Maravich, it’s must listening. Whether or not you’re a basketball fan, the story of “Pistol Pete” is one you’ll want to hear. At four years of age, Pete began dribbling his way into becoming one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Over the years, Pete set more than 40 NCAA records, was featured on five Sports Illustrated magazine covers, played in five NBA All-Star game and was ultimately inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Author, speaker, and parenting coach, Tedd Tripp, is perhaps best known for his book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart. In chapter eight of his latest book, Instructing a Child’s Heart, I love the emphasis that Tedd places on helping our children to be dazzled by God. He believes all of us have been uniquely created for worship, and worship of God occurs almost as a reflex whenever we’re dazzled by His glory.
Personally, I’m dazzled whenever I witness an awesome sunset, one of God’s colorful creatures, or when I’m standing in the presence of a massive waterfall.
You don’t need me to tell you that the temperatures are dropping and the sun setting earlier now that Daylight Savings time has kicked in. And, I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that with colder temps and darkness settling much earlier, our kids have less incentive to remain outdoors to play. Which, of course, means they’re now spending more time in the house.
Why, then, am I stating the obvious?
Because as we head into the winter, house-bound kids will spend more time watching television than engaging in outdoor activities.
Last week I was speaking to a group of Focus on the Family friends in Michigan. At the end of most events I have the time to linger with the guests. I enjoy getting to meet and spend one-on-one time listening to their stories.
Among those in attendance was a women named Glenda who came over to shake my hand. Glenda told me how her husband, Fred, had read my autobiography Finding Home almost exactly one year ago to the day.
October 14, 1978 is a date forever etched upon my mind. I was seventeen at the time living in Yucca Valley, California. The Village People had just burst onto the music scene with their hit single “Y.M.C.A.” while the Bee Gees were topping the charts with “Stayin’ Alive.” That, of course, is not why this date stands out in my memory after thirty years.
This particular morning I was relaxing at home watching a major league playoff game on television when a loud racket outside of the window caught my attention.
Back in 1985, when I was still single, I had an interesting experience during a church service. In the middle of his sermon, the pastor stopped preaching, walked right up to me and said, “I have a word from the Lord for you. I believe God has your mate picked out for you, and she’s going to have a heart for the things of God. She’ll be your crown.”
Needless to say, I was a bit taken aback.
I’m a blessed man. My job allows me to meet incredible people and taste different slices of life that I might not otherwise have experienced. As previously reported, I’ve enjoyed the thrill of watching a NASCAR race from the best seat in the house–on pit road. I’ve hit the road on the back of a Harley with friends. And I had the chance of a lifetime to watch a Boston Red Sox baseball game at Fenway Park.