Vacation Memories


This time last week, we were prepping the minivan for the 12 hour journey home from Williamsburg, VA to our home in Lanett, AL.  24 hours round trip in a car with your family can be one of the most intensive “small group” experiences of the year!  In your church, it may take 6 months to a year for some people to open up and share what’s on the heart.  But in this circumstance, it takes less than 5 minutes.  Planks

The confines of the car have caused ALL of us who are parents to completely lose it at times.  (More often than not, I tend to look back & think “wow, I could have handled that better!”)  Full of both great memories and difficult moments, the family road trip becomes a test tube for the practice of nurture before returning to a more normal environment. Christ-following parents are afforded the “Cross-fit” workout of pressing into the Fruit-of-the-Spirit.

Lest you think this is any different or easier for a pastor’s family, here are some the most repeated statements/questions during 24 hours in the car with our 3 boys:

How much further?

Are we still in Georgia?

Dad, will you turn on the wifi?

I don’t like that movie.

I love that movie.

How many more hours?

I’m hungry.

I’m bored.

Stop shooting me.

I LOVE this song!

Are we still in South Carolina?

He’s touching me!

I have to pee!

Ethan, can you get me a snack?

I can’t sleep.

I can’t stop eating!

I need a drink.

Mama, can you turn it up?

Can I have a caffeinated drink?

Can I sit somewhere else?

He always gets the back seat.

We need gas again.

Who has gas again?

Which Carolina are we in?

No, you are not peeing in a bottle. We’re stopping at the next exit.

Can I get a Starbuck’s Frappucino?

Did you make a wrong turn?

Dad, why didn’t you just listen to Siri?

Put your seat back and rest.

Your choice for the next hour is to read or take a nap.

No we are not there yet.

That is so beautiful.

Let’s play the alphabet game.

Where’s my ipod charger?

Mom, plug in my computer charger!

It’s about to die!


Look cows!


(Moment of silence)

Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!

Are we in Virginia yet?

When are we eating lunch?

Where are we stopping for lunch?

I want McDonald’s. I want Chick-Fil-A. I want Taco Bell. (Spoken simultaneously)


But WHY!?

You guys are using our data up too fast.

Can we have coke?


What about Mountain Dew?

Mama, are we on hours, minutes or seconds?

He’s touching me!

Stop touching me!

Get your feet off of me!

Why am I always the one that gets in trouble and you never get on to him!?


Where’s my DS?

Who’s got the iPad?

Let’s play Minecraft.

Can we eat at Red Lobster?

My tummy hurts.

I wanna sit with you, Mama.

There are no words.

That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

What would Jesus say if He was sitting here and heard you say that?

…I am Ti…ta….ni….ummmm….


Like you mean it.

I love you Mama.

14 Lessons in 14 Years


Today I celebrate 14 years of marriage to an amazing woman.  There is certainly much more to learn, but below are a listing of 14 of the top life-lessons-from-marriage that are true for me.  Because I write these from a husband’s perspective, these may be more helpful for the guys who happen to stumble across this…Me & Em

1.  She is frequently right more often than I am.  This is difficult to admit, and I am grateful that she [usually] doesn’t smear this in my face.

2.  “Fine” is never, ever, ever an acceptable answer to any question.  Ever.

3.  A weekly calendar planning meeting keeps a couple/family on the same page and dramatically decreases the likelihood of conflict.  If I’m blocking out intentional time to do this with people we work with, why do we not extend the same courtesy to our spouse?

4.  Sex is a wonderful gift, but is maybe 10% of a great marriage.  (Kudos to you, God, for all your imagination on day 6/Gen. 1:27-28).

5.  Seasons when money is insanely tight  are opportunities to bring us closer together and to point out the things that are truly important IF we both submit to God’s teaching and embrace it as a blessing.

6.  When her opening remark is “I just don’t feel very connected with you right now,” make direct eye contact, do not blink,  shut your mouth, listen, release every urge to be defensive and respond with “I’m sorry. I completely see how you would feel that way.”

7.  No matter how hard my day was at work, her day at home with the kids was more difficult.

8.  I need to plan special things for us as a couple and also as a family, and follow through with them.

9.  If we don’t pray together, I never really see what’s happening in her heart.

10.  Thought put into a gift is way more important than how much was spent.

11.  She really is more beautiful today than the day I married her.  I’ve heard people say that before and thought they were just being nice…but it’s actually true.

12.  She is my best friend. (This is evidenced by the fact that she is still here & genuinely likes me after moments of ridiculous childishness).

13.  Seeing her grow, develop and succeed at her career and ministry gives me great joy and makes me love her more.

14.  Every year goes by faster.  Even though I’m not great at it, I do want to savor each moment more than giving into the desire to press on to the next milestone.

Babe, when we bought those guitars I never imagined what the future held for us.  I love you.