On My Radar – Savior Announcement Trailer

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I love how smooth the movement looks. That dragon shot at the end… priceless!

“Savior is an action-adventure platformer. Dramatically change a vast open world. Parkour effortlessly with pain-free intuitive platforming. Engage a variety of opponents with strategic, precision melee combat. Discover a rich world full of quests, colorful characters and countless secrets.” – Steam

From Across the Net – “Infertility Prepared Me to Reach Other Childless Men”

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Infertility, at times, whispers to me in the darkest recesses of my soul. Telling me that I am a failure.

I am thankful for those, in my church, who have dared to bridge this gap. I am thankful for a God, who loves my wife and I so much, that He has called us out of the grieving process and into adoption. That doesn’t mean that we don’t still have bad days. 9 years of nothing still haunts us. No, this means that we now focus on what He can provide… versus us. I am thankful for His hope.

This piece about gutted me this morning. Reminds me that Satan speaks into the silence of where fellow Christians are afraid to go… But we have to.

“I have so many questions about why this isn’t happening for us,” Neil told me, “and what we should try next.” For Neil, these questions included the ethics of using donor eggs or donor sperm, whether an adopted child would ever feel like “his own,” plus age-old questions about God and suffering. This is hard terrain to navigate, one I have seen precipitate theological shifts into unorthodox territory when people lack pastoral guidance.

“All my friends are fathers and grandfathers,” another man told me. “And me? I’m nothing.” When infertility robs you of being a father, what else can you become? This can be a key question for infertile men.

You can read more here

 

38th Birthday – Showered in Board Games

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I recently celebrated my 38th birthday. This is the first year, that I can remember, not receiving anything video game-related. Instead, thanks to generous/loving family and friends, I was drowned in board games!

I can’t tell if this means that I am growing up… or what.

The Mind

Wyatt and Tabitha gave me the card game, The Mind. Imagine playing with three to four other people. On level 1 (there are 12 levels), you are each given a single card. Without talking, signaling, or having to take ordered turns, you each have to place your cards down in sequential order. If someone plays their card out of numerical order, you lose one of your 3 lives. Once all 3 lives are gone it is game over.

Tabitha, Wyatt, and I played a few rounds of The Mind and became frustrated. The lack of communication makes the game difficult combined with a certain level of patience that is needed. Tabitha and I played the game later on that evening and had a great time. We even made it to level 8 (which equals each player having 8 cards in their hands to place down). There is something about The Mind which shouldn’t work but is almost magical when it does. I love the concept of it.

Azul is a tile-based game which was super fun. I’d like to play this again soon.

Star Wars: Destiny

The RavingLuhn sent me a copy of Star Wars: Destiny (thanks again, Joe!). Tab and I had a time with the rules. So we watched a Youtube video. The video we ended up watching was less about how to play and more about strategy. We are planning on watching the official Fantasy Flight Games video when we get a chance to play again. I like the dice mechanics. (Saving the video below for later.)

My brother-in-law and his family brought donuts over for breakfast on my birthday. We indulged in greasy goodness, conversed, and then got in the pool. They went home after the pool and we had a quiet afternoon until Tab’s parents came over that evening. I fired up the BBQ and cooked some chicken that Tab had marinated in a balsamic dressing. I then topped the chicken with cheese, tomatoes, and some avocado (except for Tab’s dad, who dislikes the green fruit). All which equaled an amazing birthday dinner.

My co-workers gave me a birthday card this year.

Getting closer to the big 4-0. Whatever that means…

From Across the Net – “I Made Myself Lose My Phone”

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Relationship versus connection…

“We think we have a relationship with someone [when using social media] but what we have is a connection,” explains Larry Rosen, an expert in the psychology of technology at California State University. “Connection is part of communication, but it’s not all communication. Communication is pulling in various cues about the person you are communicating with that include things like body language, tone of voice, a roll of the eyes. Through social media, you don’t get that. You are reading what they wrote and then jotting down a few words of comment, but it’s not the richness of communication.”

You can read more here

A Letter To My Church Family

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Dear Church Family,

Back in February, during the Life Action Conference, God spoke to Tabitha and I. He told us that it was time to move on from the grieving process of not being able to have more children. After 9 years of trying to conceive, we felt Him calling us to adoption. So we stepped out of the boat, out of our comfort zone, just like Peter in Matthew 14.

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

In obedience to God’s call, we have completed:

  • 40 hours of state-mandated PRIDE Training (for foster and adoption families)
  • Numerous forms and have submitted an ant mound of paperwork
  • A home study interview that delved into our backgrounds, relationships, and family structure

Through all of the above, we have continued forward, waiting for the day that we will bring a child into our home. But like Peter, we do have days where we question; days where we freak out a little.

30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

I was telling Dr. Kelley (our pastor), who recently resigned, that even on our worst days, I still have God-given peace. A deep knowledge that God is in control, no matter how unknown (timing, age of child, etc.) the adoption process is moving forward.

I want to take a moment to encourage my church family. We are voting on an interim pastor this upcoming Sunday. I want to encourage you to:

  • Think about where we are as a church. We are not the same church that we were seven years ago when Dr. Kelley was hired.
  • Think about where we are going as a church. What does it mean to live out the Gospel in Longview, Texas.

I want to encourage you, church family, not to retreat to what is comfortable. Please do not grasp at what has worked before because someone is available OR because popular people say we should vote a certain way.

If God has been teaching Tabitha and I anything, He has been teaching us to let go of the boat and grab onto Him. I pray that our church would be able to do that, even if that means taking a deep breath, a moment, and searching for a different interim pastor.

Change is hard… but He is good.

Your brother in Christ,

Bryan

Of Paws and Pounce

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Once upon a time, in a land just up the street, there lived Princess Paws and Princess Pounce.

One day, their father, mother, and other siblings struck out on a trip to a neighboring kingdom. Princess Paws and Princess Pounce were left in the care of a kindly villager family.

Days went by, Princess Paws and Princess Pounce played in the fields and adventured about. They chased after chickens, brushed up against a duck, and missed their family most of all.

Photo by André Spieker on Unsplash

One day, the kindly villager family arrived to make sure Paws and Pounce were doing okay. Princess Pounce loudly meowed, as she realized the kindly villager family were her only human playmates.

WATCH ME, SHE SAID.

Princess Paws, after much searching, was missing.

  • She was not in her kennel.
  • She was no where near the castle.
  • She was not anywhere to be seen.

The kindly villager family searched high and low. They called out:

“PAWS!”

But she was not to be found.

The royal family returned from their journey. After much searching, they found that Princess Paws had burrowed herself into a hole in her kennel. She knew she had parvo; she knew she was going to die. The family had to use shovels to dig her out. A trip to the vet did not help her.

In the end, this author was super bummed out that a friend’s black lab puppy died while in my care. There was something beautiful about watching Paws follow Wyatt around as we took care of the other animals. Almost, ALMOST, makes me want to get a puppy for him (ssshhhh, don’t tell him!).

I prayed at some point, and I told God that if there are animals in Heaven, that I hoped Paws would be there now. Such a sweet puppy.

The Electrical Panel

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A few weeks ago, we had an air conditioning company do some work in the office. While fixing a circuit breaker, they forgot to put the electrical panel back on the box. Instead of letting me put the two screws in, that hold the panel in place, I was told to call the company back out. I was mortified.

Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

The technician the company sent out was 115% understanding. Took him less than a few minutes to put the panel back together.

I get the principal of holding a company to their work… but I wonder where the line of entitlement and laziness meet. Maybe I’m too practical? Either way, I say screw it.

Adoption Update – Hurry Up And Wait

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We started our PRIDE Classes in April. With severe weather pushing the 40 hours of training right up against our vacation to California in early May. Our home study was turned into the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services as of yesterday. By all accounts, listening to others who have gone through this adoption process, we are moving through the required steps quickly.

Photo by Xu Haiwei on Unsplash

Hurry up and wait seems to be the mantra. We’ll go for weeks without hearing anything and then get a phone call that forces us to drop everything and complete a task. God has been good to us during this period of waiting, preparing our family for who is to come.

Wyatt was recently singing in a church service with our children’s program at church. As Tabitha and I watched him sing, I thought to myself, we could soon be watching someone else too.

The lack of an outward indicator that someone is coming, say a stomach growing due to the baby inside, is odd. So are all of the details we do not know.

BUT, we are getting closer to that day when our family grows from three to four. So many changes ahead… and we have to temper our excitement like a kid before Christmas.

The Many Flavors of Disney Magic

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Woke up to a video of a family brawling at Disneyland. Reminded me of an odd incident that happened to us when we visited the park in May.

While standing in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a man started yelling. Cursing who knows who, he unloaded a rapid volley of “adult” words. As this is happening, I heard someone behind me say, “Please move.” Disneyland Security had arrived.

The man kept cursing and stalking about the tightly packed line. His body language matched his words: 1) unstable (maybe drugs?); 2) threatening. I wasn’t sure what he was going to do. So I used my body as a shield between him and my family.

Photo by Ben Lei on Unsplash

Disneyland Security tried to calm the man down. Everything they did was in an effort to de-escalate the situation. At one point, a security member looked at the guy, who was dropping f-bombs, and said, “Really, come on man.” Eventually, security escorted him away from the attraction.

This was Wyatt’s first trip to Disneyland; his first time riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. He didn’t want to ride after listening to this man. But I encouraged Wyatt to ride and it ended up being one of his favorite rides in the park.

In all my years of visiting Disneyland (as both a former pass holder and Cast Member), I have never felt nor witnessed a situation quite like this. Of course, psychotic Disney guest happens to share his anger on my son’s first day. Talk about Disney magic. People need to chill.

Romance Is a Bonus Book

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While out in California, I had a chance to spend some time with my youngest sister, Rachelle. She got telling me about how her and her husband watch Korean soap operas together. They enjoy the dramatic stories that are clean, content-wise. Shell gave me a list of shows to check out on Netflix that included:

  • Abyss
  • Beating Again
  • Man to Man
  • Romance Is a Bonus Book

Tab and I were bored one night. All of our regular TV shows are on hiatus for the summer (NCIS, Hawaii Five-O, Madam Secretary). So we decided to check out what my sports-loving brother-in-law is cool with watching with my sister… I just can’t picture him watching THIS:

A gifted writer who’s the youngest editor-in-chief ever at his publishing company gets enmeshed in the life of a former copywriter desperate for a job.

Overall, Tab and I have been surprised by the show. I have found the story of a 38 year old woman going back into the workforce, after taking time out/off to be a mom/wife, to be both sweet and sad. Reminds me that life does not always go the way we plan… but the key here is the way the main protagonist reacts to her diverging path. She has hope and doesn’t think menial tasks to be below her.

I have loved listening to the Korean language while reading the subtitles. Super relaxing! The biggest personal drawback, for me, has been that the episodes are a little over an hour long. I like my shows to be within the 45 minute range. Allows me to often watch two shows, back-to-back, sans guilt.

If you are looking for something completely different, looking to switch up your media buffet, I suggest trying out Romance Is a Bonus Book. You’ll end up experiencing a new culture without having to step a foot outside your house.