First Haircut and Amazing Gratitude

Today two great things happened.  The first was Judah’s first haircut.  A bittersweet occassion brought about only because he, on his own, told us a few weeks ago “I need a haircut!”.  We didn’t even know he knew what a haircut was!  But I guess he got tired of the hair in his eyes.

Afterward, I took him home and gave him ice cream while Katie got her hair done.  After he was done, he was quitely trying to get his words and saying…

“Thank you ff… thank you fff..”

“Thank you for what, Judah?”

“Thank you for the special food that you made for me.”

This kid is 2.5 years old.  Just amazed at him.

The best reports in life…

Katie and I went to my mother’s 60th birthday party in the Cities today.

1/2 way through the night, we got a call from Jill.  She was taking Judah to Whistle Binkies to have some food with his uncle Mark.  She buckled him up, and as she was waiting for cars to pass so she could get in her driver side door, she was playing with him through the window making running motions, etc.

When she finally ran around the car and got in the driver’s side, she heard Judah say “Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Judah pray for cars!”

She confirmed this is what he said.

Amazing.  God, bless that little soul! 😀

Surreal Awesomeness

Today:  Confirmed Light45 “Steeped” in Garage Rehab – Season 1, Episode 2.  AWESOME!!!  Over a minute!!!

More important – Judah.  Man.  This stage of life – what a blessing!!!  He is turning into my little buddy.  So polite at times.  So frustrated at others.  (I feel for him!  Must be hard working through all of those emotions!)

But I have never felt such love for the kid.  Seriously.  The things he does – just – just take my heart without giving me an option. lol.

Today – I told him as we were looking at a river “You are my favorite boy in the whole world.”  He made some kind of a soothing sound, took my hand, and laid his head next to my hand/head.  (I was kneeling near his stroller).  Pretty much the highlight of life, right there.

And then tonight, I asked him, “Do you want ice cream?”  And his eyes widened and he sweetly said, “Yes!”   Wow.  Just that seeing him visualize/enjoy the future thrills me!!!  Like when I told him we would ride a bus someday.  lol.  AWESOME!!!

Ok, just have seconds, but needed to post!

People singing MY SONGS!!!

Today was one of the ABSOLUTE HIGHLIGHTS of my LIFE! There is no greater honor for a musician than for people to sing the lyrics to your songs. Tonight, all of the sudden, there was 30-40 people all singing “Your Love Breaks Every Boundary” – completely unprovoked. It was stunning. It was one of the most happy feelings of my life. I didn’t even expect anyone to come to this show, honestly.  Considering the storms we had today, and the fact people had to park down the street (played at Godz Graj). God is sooooo very good. We have some fans that come from Wisconsin to our shows now. Wow. I’m just amazed.

I cannot tell you the indescribable joy of that moment when I realized that everyone knew the words to our song, and were all belting it out in a chorus of unison and worship.  It was amazing.  Just absolutely indescribably happy!!!  I was and am sooooooo happy!!!!!!

I need to mention how awesome Katie is.

Judah – every day with that boy seems to get even better.  He will be a year old this coming week.  He says “dada”, “mama” and has said “I love you” twice.  Although he won’t do it again, lol.  He even said “I love you mama”.  No lie.  What amazes me is how great he is, and how fatherhood to me is like a curve.  For me it was hard and little payback at first, a stranger who demanded my life by the nature of his fragility, and to whom I committed myself while still being confused about how it was all supposed to be.  But as he grew, and started to do things, and develop his personality, and slowly crawled away from me and chased me for the first time (like a turtle on a snails back, lol), and laughs with me, etc, ever day has gotten better, and better, and better.  Until now I am struck by him when he is sleeping.  I have fun with him when he is awake.  And I find myself just thanking God for him all the time and praying for him.  What a cool little tike!!!  God has got great things for you, my little boy!

Wow, what a difference!

Judah is now nearly 3 months old.

Oh my gosh, what has changed.

I have a new job.  Less hours.  More time with family.  Just like I prayed for.

Judah – it’s truly the little things that are incredible.  The time we noticed he looked out the window when driving in the car.  The way we understand his specific cries and needs, from diaper to burp to hunger.  Looking in the mirror at himself and smiling (before we went to Matt and Hannah’s wedding).  Looking across the room.

He has, in the last week, just started noticing his toes.  He will raise his foot, look at it, and put it down.

God is also doing great things with Light45.  We just confirmed this last week studio time with a Grammy winning producer.  Skidd Mills.  More on this to follow.

God has been speaking to me about obedience.  And how He is ultimately all that matters.

He is bringing me into a time of truly fathering in more ways than one.  God give me grace!!!!

Judah’s First Smile! :)

Judah has smiled in his sleep a lot, but not awake.

I just got off the phone with Katie.  She said she was talking to Judah about leaving the room to get mommy some food and he broke out in the biggest, crinkliest smile ever!  She said at first she didn’t know what he was doing, and then it hit her what a huge smile it was!  And so she said it again, and he smiled again!

I so wish I was there.  But I’m thankful if only one of us could see this first, it was her.  Katie deserves it.

Those smiles were the first of a lifetime absolutely filled with smiles.  God bless you with that, baby Judah!

Come, little baby.

My first pregnancy with Katie has been filled with a variety of emotions.  In general, I would say it is 75% excitement, and 20% fear and 5% peace in knowing God is in control and it will all be all right.  Earlier in the pregnancy, there was probably equal parts fear and excitement, but the excitement has grown with time, as the shock of knowing your life will soon be changed forever wears off.

A couple of strange analogies and thoughts I have had:

Katie survived meningitis.  I have seen her in extreme pain and we got through that.  And so I am not concerned about the pain or blood or anything like that.  She can handle it.  And we will have 2 extremely talented midwifes and one of Katie’s best friends here as well.  Even if I faint, there will be enough people to tend to Katie while someone takes care of me.

God gave her a verse from Song of Solomon early in this pregnancy about sheep coming down a mountain, and how none of them had lost their lambs.  We both believe he gave that to hear early so that we could hang our hats on it, knowing that Katie would go full-term with a healthy baby.

I am now in active waiting mode, as Katie’s braxton-hicks contractions of the last two months have now become a second stage where they are more regular – maybe 5 minutes apart, for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes long.  And a few of them actually are a bit painful now, whereas before they were not at all.  Her belly just used to get tight.  I stayed home from work, just because of this change today.  Midwife says active labor could come any time, or it could take a week.  Katie didn’t sleep at all last night due partly to the contractions, but mostly to heartburn, her closest of 3rd trimester acquaintances.

We have prayed thoroughly for a perfect birth, with no physical detriment to Katie.

The last few weeks I have felt a strange bond with people that know they are going to die soon.  I feel like we both know there is a fence up.  And you can’t see the other side.  But you know that very soon it will be your turn to be lifted over it.  You have heard from many people how it is, but no one can really tell you exactly how.  You just have to go there yourself to understand.  What you do know is that it will require you to die to yourself more than ever in your life.

Just today I feel a little bit more like I am waiting for a luxury ship to take me into the unknown.  It is an anxious wait, because I don’t know when it is going to arrive.  I just know that it is somewhere out there behind the mist, heading my way.  And I know it will take me places that are incredible, and to places that are painful.  And part of me has become comfortable on the beach with a drink in hand.  But I have bought my ticket, and I am leaving.  Even if I didn’t choose to go, which I have, I would be duty bound to go.  That ship is going, and I am going to be on it.  And I am scared.  The people on the deck as the ship approaches can look happy and excited, but it still doesn’t change the fact that I’m scared.

Earlier in this pregnancy I thought it felt like looking up at your first roller coaster, knowing that you are about to go on it.

Part of me is scared to death.  Part of me just wants the birth to be over.  Part of me wants to just realized I don’t know how to clean an uncircumcised penis.  Part of me feels a little sick.  Part of me is worried that my co-workers will think I’m skipping out on work.  Most of me doesn’t care.  Part of me wonders if I’ll ever feel the way I did chilling on a beach in Jamaica, or if I’ll be concerned for wherever my kid(s) are.  Part of me is curious how God will help me to teach them, and to plan to help them financially.  Part of me hopes that, above all else, I will not sacrifice time with them for work, and lead them as God would, to be Godly people of integrity.  (Well, all of me hopes that, just part of the time I think about it).  Part of me is excited for some band opportunities coming up, and wants to nail them.

Part of me is thankful spring is here.  And that the grass is green.  And that birds visit my deck.

Justin – it will be o.k.

Part of me speaks the words of faith I learned when I married Katie.

“Justin, God is soooooo in control.  All those years of worrying were in vain.  He was in complete control the entire time.”

I have trusted Him with my life.  I now have to trust him – completely – to be in control of Judah’s life as well.

God, give me plentiful time with my kids.  May we go camping, fishing, dancing, whatever it is that touches their hearts and draws them closer to you.  May I never wound them with words or actions that allow lies to take root.  May I only speak and convey grace, and the Father’s heart.


Days 1-2 Phew!

With Katie being pregnant, and wanting to try a little different travel style, we decided to layover overnight in Miami.  We scored a great airbnb location with an airport shuttle, a private room with an Alex-Jones libertarian named Aldo.  Really had a great night, good rest, and a great breakfast that we could tell was truly made with loving care by Aldo.

One great thing about the flight to Miami – 1st class.  We had contemplated upgrading but decided against it due to cost.  But God has really been showing his favor and mercy to us on this trip, and Katie was talking about how she had never flown first class but wanted to.  At the gate, we asked if we could be moved into a row together, and the gentleman told us it had already been done.  They put us together in the back of the plane.  Then a peach of an attendant named Kiril took a liking to us, and asked us if we would mind moving to an exit row.  While we didn’t really want to move, we complied and it did have more leg room.  Then before we took off, she stopped by again and said, “Today is your lucky day.  You can move to first class.”  What a blessing!!!  For me (Justin), the greatest part of it was seeing my Jesus love on my lovely wife in a way that is just so precious and exactly how he has done for me thousands of times.  That was, by far, a highlight of the trip.

Anyway, after we woke up we flew the rest of the way to Trinidad.  Uneventful, but it is worth mentioning that both in MSP and Miami we had the easiest and most friendly, funny TSA agents I have ever encountered.

When we arrived in Trinidad, a very tiring marathon began.  Caribbean airlines, with a terrible website, had cancelled my reservation.  We didn’t know if we would have to stay overnight or not, and were put on a standby list.  But after running back and forth between counters 38, 2, 38, and 37 we finally were given tickets for a flight leaving an hour later.

We arrived in Trinidad, and had to wait for our rental car guy.  So we went to the tourism office and this sister in the Lord began speaking words of live over unborn Judah.  “You will be the head and not the tail.  You are blessed and favored.  You are a man of peace.”  It was really a blessed time.

When Taylor (our rental car guy) picked us up, we had no idea the long, WINDING drive ahead of us.  Poor Katie, already prone to car sickness, sucked it up and made it the whole way.  It took her about an hour to recuperate once we arrived, but she is doing fine now.  I walked up the road to a grocery stand and got some ingredients, and we made some delicious pasta.

We are only now really starting to unwind.  Tomorrow we have to move to a different room, but then we have 6 blessed days with no plans, except the special surprise Katie has for me on Saturday.

Our place, SeaScape, is pretty cool, and the view, while dark when we got here, I believe will reveal to be world class in the morning.  The ocean is incredibly loud.  One other note – we were greeted by the largest grasshopper we have ever seen – comical proportions.  A head the size of a quarter and a body the length of my thumb tip to my middle finger tip when stretched as far away from each other as I can.  And the other critter was a gecko even larger.  Large enough not to be cute, and large enough so I didn’t know what to do.  He was in the second shower, which we decided not to use. lol. He claimed it first.

365 Days of Kindness – Day 2. Bonita.

I told an older cashier at SafeWay that she was appropriately named.  (Her name was Bonita).

I looked for other opportunities all day, but couldn’t really find any outside of what I normally do.  One thing I’m finding is that I actually am a pretty giving person.  Many things I do every day I don’t want to count for this, but I did make meals, clean dishes, etc.  It feels good to confirm that I’m a pretty stand up guy. 🙂

Checking off a Big Item on Katie’s Bucket List

Tomorrow I have an opportunity to check off one of Katie’ s biggest bucket list items.  It is, honestly, something that I really could not have done without God’s help.

Checking off Katie’s bucket list is one of my primary goals in life, second only to hearing God’s voice.  Part of the reason this is my goal, other than my love for that funky, beautiful lady, is because in the Bible we are told as husbands to lay our lives down for our wives, like Christ laid his down for his church.

It is my absolute pleasure to lay my life down for Katie.  I’ve seen a lot in life, but I want more than anything for Katie to have her dreams come true.

I love that lady. 🙂