What were you favorites of the year?

Favorite Songs

  • Avicii – Wake Me Up, Hey Brother
  • Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait (can’t get enough of that song)
  • Lorde – Team
  • Matt Maher – Oh Come Emmanuel (remix)

Favorite Movie – Fading West, the documentary from Switchfoot

Favorite Coffee Drink – Macchiatto, American style with a little bit of steamed milk

Favorite Saturday – Loading the three girls into the bicycle (Stella in the back seat of the bike, Norah and Eden in the trailer) and exploring South Tempe. Our favorite spots are neighborhood yard sales, the canal, Home Depot, and Crepe Bar. I am interested in the trend of leaving the car in the driveway.

Beautiful moments from your year of traveling?

  • Planning to have fun. Usually I zip in-and-out of a city as quickly as possible. But this year I took time to plan ahead so that I could actually enjoy cities that I’ve visited a half-dozen times over the past 10 years, but I never really got to know. While in Kansas City, I enjoyed a cup of coffee at Oddly Correct and then explored the Utilitarian Workshop project that I first discovered on Kickstarter. When in Indianapolis, I enjoyed hanging out with friends at Bee Coffee Roasters and The Libertine with old friends. While doing a parish mission in Boerne, Texas, I took a morning to explore Austin with my cousin Laura.
  • Getting sick in Georgia. This sounds strange because nobody likes to be sick when away from home. Plus I had so much to do with Camp Hidden Lake and Camp Covecrest while I was in Georgia. But getting a 24-hour flu forced me to be still and depend on my first family. My sister Katie, my brothers Paul and Andrew, and Mom and Dad all helped this grown man get through. Also, the drive through the mountains during autumn while listening to classical music in the swanky rental car was a treat.
  • Opening day at Camp Hidden Lake. It was a wild year trying to pull the whole deal together, but on a cold day in November, they handed the keys to Camp Hidden Lake to Life Teen. This might be a one-year lease, or–God willing–we will end up buying it. This could be very awesome.

In total, I probably made 20+ trips in 2013. It was a wild year. I don’t like traveling that much, so hopefully 2014 will be more manageable.

Hardest thing to understand?
All these ethnic patterns in women’s clothing. At this rate, hipsters will be wearing Kokopelli earrings by mid 2014.

Life with Candyce is…
Awesome. I mean that in the most sincere way–she is worthy of awe. I never knew when I met her ten years ago when she was 20-years-old that she had such depth of soul. Our life together is so fun, rich, and rewarding. I love her so much.

What challenges refined you in 2013?

  • Recovering from surgery. Praise God that is over. It’s a painful thing to not be able to pick up your children for that long. And yes, sunscreen is important.
  • Stress from work. It was a challenging but beautiful year for me and all of Life Teen. I am still in the wake of this whole thing, so I haven’t had time to reflect on what I’ve learned. What I do know is that I am glad that 2013 is over so that I can learn to love my job again. I need a new beginning.
  • Sleepless nights. I spent many long nights keeping Stella company as she is tormented by her itchy skin. This has gone on for a year and a half now. We’re working hard to help her get rid of this eczema, but it’s a long, confusing process. It’s a real trial. All I want is for my little Stella to feel relief from the incessant itching; I want her to sleep through the night and wake up refreshed and ready for the day. I want this part of her life to be normal. That is my dream situation–NORMAL. It makes me think of all the other parents out there who have dreams, fantasies for their child. The mom who wishes her son could walk between classes and wasn’t bound to a wheel chair. The dad who wishes his daughter didn’t have asthma so that she could run and play with her friends. I understand that although this is difficult for little Stella and for me and Candyce, her parents. But she isn’t bound to a wheel chair. She can run and run and run and not get shortness of breath. So we are 99% close to a perfect childhood. I have to be happy with that, and understand that this 1% problem that we’re dealing with right now is for a reason, and that God is drawing us to be a closer family because of it.

What am you most excited about in 2014?

Welcoming a 4TH DAUGHTER into our family. This is a bit overwhelming when we got the news on Christmas day when we learned that the baby is a little girl. Honestly–I am still overwhelmed. I just have to step back and watch God’s plan unfold.

There are other things that are worth getting excited about…

  • Simple Living – Our new lifestyle that began in 2013 was a tough transition, but well worth it. I love having no satellite TV, eliminating gluten/wheat and dairy from our diet, and keeping the girls’ bedtime routine. I also need to make running a priority again.
  • Parent Teaching – Our classroom / art room is almost finished upstairs. I am excited to have our daughters develop a love for learning. I want their childhood to be filled with creativity, imagination, and adventure. This art room upstairs is a special project because it is the first room in our home to be renovated with the child-first design.
  • Coffee Roasting – I’ve enjoyed roasting coffee in the last several months and I want to keep the party going. Take your passions seriously.

What quotes are you loving?

About attitude…

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” – Henry Ford

About standards for life…

“How you do anything is how you do everything.”

 About life purpose, a quote made popular by Nelson Mandela, rest in peace.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”