Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father’s Day 2014

Each year I post a blog about my father and they way the man has helped shape my life. Each post comes from a place a deep appreciation for what he has taught me as a man and as a father myself. This year though I want to focus on his relationship with my sons, and celebrating him.

The past year has been a challenging one for my dad. Work has been insanely busy (when is it not though). But the big difference this year is that my dad lost his mom. He lost his dad 27 years ago and even though he knew this day would come, he still hit him hard and understandably so. He taught me something during that trying time for him: Celebrate now. Celebrate family. Love each other and do so unconditionally. Sounds like something our Father in Heaven taught us to do, doesn’t it?

My dad has a blast with my sons. And when I say blast, that is an understatement. The four year old runs to him every time he comes over and wants to play trains. The two year old is coming around to his grandfaDad with Boysther, especially in the last six months. The feeling I get to watch my dad come in and the boys GO NUTS is one I cannot explain. It is a feeling he unfortunately only got to see with me and his dad. My brother never met my grandfather. He gets pulled into my son’s rooms to play trains and the youngest goes bulldozing in to play with him as well. They cannot get enough of him.

If my boys feel this way about their grandfather, then they are understanding the joy and appreciation me and my brother feel about him. He taught us so much. The sacrifices he made is mind blowing. And why did he do it? Not for recognition. Anyone who knows him knows he could care less of being recognized. What he cares about is that he shows God’s love and the ultimate sacrifice He made for us.

A few months ago, he called to ask if him and my mother could take21 Cameron Bible shopping to purchase his first Bible. This was a big deal growing up and still have the last Bible they gave me. Yes, the post car flood Bible. That is a whole other story for another time. His focus is that his grandchildren are raised with the same character and beliefs he raised his sons.

He is a special father and amazing Grandfather. I am so incredibly lucky to call him Dad. When you have people like this in your life, make sure you tell them you love them. I love you dad. Thank you for all that you have done for myself and Andrew. Thank you for all that you have done for my wife. Thank you for all that you do for my sons.

Happy Father’s Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother’s Day Part 3–My Amazing Wife

One person I continue to look up is my wife. How she does what she does with our two amazingly crazy boys is beyond me. I am thankful that she was given to me by God. She has put up with so much from me and the boys. She deals with the kids with my crazy work schedule while going back to school and starting a business with her photography. It blows me away.

When I met her, she was not someone to talk to before 10am on most days. She enjoys her sleep. She enjoyed her 8, 10, 12 hours of sleep. Now, she enjoys three straight hours of sleep if she can get it. That is what makes her the amazing person she is. She wants to do what is best for her family, even if that means she loses sleep.

So to honor my wife, I want to play the song from our wedding nearly 5.5 years ago. There is a long story on how this song was played at our wedding; however, the important thing is: She was worth it bringing him to sing our song. This song still hits me when I hear it when cutting the grass or driving to work.

I love you Stephanie. Happy Mother’s Day!!

Jared Taber – She

Video rights from Erik Van Duyn (You signed off on this when you emailed this to me!)

Mother’s Day Part 2–My mom

My mom and I have always had, let’s call, interesting relationship. There were many, many times that she was not too thrilled with me growing up. I think I am the reason that my brother and I are so far33 apart in years because I caused her so much grief that there was no way she wanted another one of me. Ha! Andrew, my brother came nearly eight years after me and was much more mellow, until college. It could go either way after that.

With all that my mom and I have argued on through the years, there is one thing that we do agree on. The importance of music in our lives. Now our tastes in music have been different through the years. Even the same type of music (Christian) has been different. I do not see my mom getting down with DC Talk’s CD “Nu Thang.” But there is one artist we do have in common: The great Rich Mullins.

He passed away a few years ago and we both still struggle that there is not any new music from him. My mom and I would fight over his cds. What she would do is buy the same cd for her and I would take her other one. She wanted to make sure that I heard what Rich Mullins was singing about.

TravisDanceswithMomThere is one song that took awhile for my mom to hear again after Rich passed away nearly 17 years ago. It is a song that touches her and reminds me of how she brought me up. With all the arguing going on today about what the Bible is saying about every little detail, it all comes back to Jesus. It comes back to Him holding us through the storms in life and that no matter what storm is happening, we remember that He is our Prince of Peace.

Just this past Tuesday, a DVD came out entitled Ragamuffin, which is based off of Rich Mullins life. In a heartbeat, I knew what to get her for Mother’s Day.

This is our connection. When you find that with your mom, hold on to it. Thank you mom for fighting for me throughout all my fighting against you. Without you persistence, God only knows where I would be in life.

Here is the song. Hold me Jesus by Rich Mullins. I love you mom.

Mother’s Day Part 1–Ode to Grandma

This is a different Mother’s Day for our family. This is the first time my father cannot call my grandmother and say Happy Mother’s Day. She passed away a few months ago and is deeply missed. The lasting memory I have of my grandma is her holding Cameron in the picture below. I remember us trying to get a picture of her with Cameron and she looked at me and said her amazing New Orleans accent, “Dawlin’ you are going to have to set him on my lap. He is a BIG boy!” She was right. Cameron was a big boy (1o lbs 3 ounces) and he was a beast four months in this picture below.

Grandma and Cameron

There were many other pictures taken with her throughout the years. Between second lining on a boat with her and grandpa when I was six to my high school graduation. All of them remind me of a happy time with her. She grew up in the depression and lived off of very little as a young girl. Through many stories I have heard from my father and many times witnessed myself, she is one I will always admire and be thankful to call her my grandmother.


She was an amazing woman and one that we will miss in our family. So on this Mother’s Day, I pray for my dad and his two brothers as they miss there mom. But I promise all three of them this: There will be banana fritters had somewhere just for her. We miss you grandma and we love you.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father’s Day 2013–Putting what I was Taught into Practice

Each year, our church has an event entitled “20:28.” It is in reference to Matthew Chapter 20, Verse 28: “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” It is a day members of the church go to different parts of St. Louis and assist in cleaning up certain areas. In the few years I have participated in this, I seem to always be doing landscaping. Whether it is going for 4 hours on a weed eater at a cemetery or cleaning up the landscaping at an elderly person who was in hospice, it is cool to see members of your church get together to help out others.

Well, yesterday was this year’s 20:28. I was assigned to helping out a historical Black cemetery by weed eating near the graves.  Meanwhile as I was doing this, my Father’s Day gift to my father was playing out. My dad and my first son love to play trains. My son will track my dad down as soon as he comes over at times Cam Train Stationand bring him into his room to play trains. Well, I purchased them two tickets on Amtrak and the took a train ride just over an hour outside of Missouri. I am getting texts left and right with pictures of checking into the station and waiting on the train. The kid was excited; however, I am not sure who was more excited. My dad was updating us with my son looking outside to hearing the horn for the first time. They loved every minute of it. I got to ask my son when he woke up from his nap late yesterday how it was. He was telling me about the horn and the ice cream he had while stopped in Hermann. He also apparently really wanted a cat there in an antique shop. But, it was not for sale.

So what do each story have to do with each other? I was thinking this yesterday. There is a lot of time to think when you our weed eating for as long as we were. My dad has always taught my brother and I about serving. I still remember to this day about a house, maybe half a mile from where I grew up, and how I should go up there and help the elderly couple pick up all the gumballs in their yard. I questioned how much I would get paid. My dad said nothing and that we are taught to serve others without asking. Well at 14 years old, that was not something I wanted to do and never did it. If I think about it to this day, yes I regret for not listening.

My dad and my brother volunteered at a homeless shelter on Thanksgiving to serve the community with less than our family. My dad taught us this verse, not by just quoting something, but by encouraging us to serve others and living this verse out.

So yesterday, while I gave my dad his gift that he considered creative, I received a gift from my dad. I listened to what he taught me and served others. I am not sure who my serving affected; however, it doesn’t matter. I am not in this to pat myself on the back. I did it because it is the right thing to do. I did it because our Father sent his Son to us not to be served but to serve others.

Thanks Dad for a great Father’s Day gift. You have taught me so many things you could not even know. I love you.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother’s Day 2013

Last Mother’s Day was a pretty special day. We had just had ourDSCN0717 second son a week beforehand and ALL were healthy on this go around. The plan was for Stephanie to be a stay at home mom while I worked. In that year, I think I have come to a conclusion: Mom’s are invaluable! They are lifesavers! I feel like a new associate at my hotel on his or her first day being bombarded by guests with so many questions. In other words, they do more than sit at home and eat bon bons all day. I wish I would have known what I know now growing up.

I gave my parents a run for their money, especially my mother. She is someone that has to have things make sense around the house DSCN0723and in all our lives. When something does not make sense, it starts a domino effect. For example: House is cleaned during the day. I come home from school and go to baseball practice or outside to play or outside to work. Meanwhile, the hard work of cleaning the house has gone out the window due to the tornado (a nickname of mine) had just go through the house. Shoes in three different places (trust me it is possible), school clothes not in the hamper, socks on the floor, book bag somewhere I will forget to locate and a mother looking at me like she is trying to split an atom she is so confused. That was just on a Monday. Imagine that every day of the week.

There are days I come home and Stephanie has her hands in the air, kids crying or all over the place, toys everywhere, dishes in areas I did not know dishes were needed and a look on her face that if I 5-20-12young (54 of 173)mention any of this, go back to the hotel and she will see me tomorrow. She tells me it was a heck of a day and nothing got done. Well, actually, stuff did get done. She took care of my two boys. She fed them. She changed them. She snuggled with them. She worked harder than I ever could. You have to have a patience with two boys.

Stephanie and my mother both have an amazing amount of patience. I continue to learn different things about my own mother and all that she had to go through as a mother. I am blessed to have one that cared for me no matter what I said or did. I am blessed to have a wife to want to be home with the kids each day. Both of these women do amazing jobs at what they have done and continue to do. Thank you mom. I love you. Thank you Stephanie. I love you.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Different Perspective for Father’s Day

On my car ride in to work, I usually switch between a local Christian music station and a national sports talk show. Very random, but I think that sums me up pretty well.

Anyway, Mike and Mike radio host host Mike Golic was being asked about dropping off his youngest daughter to Notre Dame University. She was going there on a swimming scholarship and is joining her two brothers who already attend school there. All of a sudden, Mike and his wife were empty nesters. It made me think about my trip to college and made my cringe.

After checking out several colleges with my dad, I finally decided to 31go to the University of Missouri. I was excited for the chance to “be on my own.” We got there early that Wednesday morning and got my room assignment. We were working out the final details of switching rooms so I could room with a guy I had known for a few years. After that was all settled we brought all my clothes and stuff purchased for college into the room. A lot was going on. What was going on in my mind though was a million miles away of what was going off in my dad’s mind.

Now that I am a father of two, I sense he was thinking of the times I would run to him when I needed help. Maybe he was thinking of me playing baseball or basketball or studying for a test. (Okay, that last one is pushing it, I know.) He was going through emotional hell is what I am now thinking. His first born is heading off to college and is out of the house. Sure, I came back for breaks and random weekends; however, I was not to be there consistently ever again. And my response to all this: Call the pager company to find out why my pager was not working.

I was sitting at my desk doing all this as he was waiting to say goodbye. To my defense, okay I have no defense. I cringe to this day about that moment. Did I ruin it for him? What had he envisioned? I can only imagine his sadness as he left and what he felt.

I do not think my father and I or even my mother have talked about that moment until I am now writing this. I am not sure he even sees it the way I do. It amazes me though how everything changes once you have kids of your own. I see my two year old now and think of how much he has grown. I am scared to see what is going to happen five years from now, but I am in the same sense excited.

I have learned from my father to cherish every single moment. It means the world to me that I see that now. It makes me cringe that I recollect my first major college experience as that.

So dad, from the bottom of my heart I am sorry for that. I Cameron's Birthday 024remember the times we raced in the yard. Or the practices you drove me to time and time again. Or the time you took me to West County Mall to drive on Thanksgiving and Christmas while I may have been under the legal age. Or the time you mourned with me at the loss of a friend. Thank you for all that you have done for me and your experience has prepared me for when my time comes when Cameron goes off to college.

I love you dad.