Titus Goes to Work

I decided to take Titus with me to the office today to give Bethany a little break. She can definitely handle the kids on her own, but because the office is a little more quiet during the summer months I figured it would be alright to bring him and let him hang out. He actually did really great, spending most of his time playing on our iPad, but also playing with the dinosaurs and toy cars he packed in his back pack. Going to work with Daddy also included going out to eat with daddy and the rest of my team. We have been showing our interns a few fun places we like to go so Titus got to come along today and he really liked that. Later in the afternoon he actually helped Rachael with a little bit of work and below is a photo she got of him “helping” her. She said he actually did help and was sorting buttons for summer camps this year. I like that the little dude is getting some work done!

Helping Miss Rachael (6/18/15)

Speaking of Rachael, we ended up just having the same dinner she made for us last night again tonight. We had plenty of food, so it was just kind of nice to be able to not have to prep anything again because quite honestly both Bethany and I are really tired. Having a new baby is a little like getting over jet lag. You just feel really tired at weird parts of the day. Tonight I’m barely keeping my eyes open as I write this!

Making Snowflakes (6/18/15)

After dinner I ended up showing the kids how to make snowflakes with paper and scissors. I realized that it’s been way too many years since I’ve done that and I’m terrible at it. At one point I tried to cut out circles and ended up making these sweet glasses that you see Titus and I wearing in the photo above. The kids and I got better as time went on and more paper was wasted, so that’s good. In the end we were coloring pages and then making rainbow snowflakes which Avery thought was great fun.

Normally I do my Bible reading right after I finish the blog, but today I did it right when Titus and I got home and while I was holding Karis for Bethany. I had a feeling I would be really tired tonight and that turned out to be true. The clock is just about to strike 9pm, but my body might as well think it’s 2am. With that I’m signing off for the evening. As always, thanks for reading!


A Picture Book

Book (4/15/15)

One of the projects my team has been working on for a while now (I think it’s gotta be eight months?) is a photo book to commemorate twenty years of ministry for Josiah Venture (JV) in Central and Eastern Europe. When you do design work, and work on designs that are literally going to print, there’s nothing quite like getting the finished product in your hand. For my team, that day was today when we finally got to see this photo book and feel it with our own hands. When the printer dropped off the books today at the office my heart was pounding because of the amount of work that went into getting this thing just right (I was probably nervous I would find a typo!). We really wanted this book to be something special for the many donors who have faithfully given to Josiah Venture over the past twenty years, but more importantly as a testimony to what God has done in the lives of young people during that time.

Book (4/15/15)

Ministry continues to ramp up for Josiah Venture and there’s a bit of a buzz in the office as we prepare for the upcoming Spring Conference. The conference is an annual event for Josiah Venture missionaries and this year’s theme is “Family on Mission.” Our team continues to work hard on all the conference graphics and materials and I’m excited as well for that project to come to fruition. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes that I hope will eventually bless all of the missionaries who will attend.

The weather was just incredible today and it really couldn’t have been more perfect. Bethany took the kids outside a lot this afternoon and it was just one of those days where you could take a good book and enjoy reading in the sunshine. As the days warm up there are just a lot more people out walking the streets and getting some sun which is a nice change from the cold, overcast winter. We are continuing to see more and more flowers and trees blooming which add color and life to the landscape. We’re praising the Lord for his goodness in the weather change and for all that He’s doing in our lives!


Work and Parenting

The other morning Titus came up to Bethany and I and showed us something on the iPad. Apparently he saw something in the App Store that looked interesting to him, so he told us that he “wanted to buy it.” We kind of chuckled and said, “Do you have any money?” Quickly Titus replied, “In my piggy bank!” and ran towards his room. When he returned with his blue piggy bank we opened it up and found 14 Czech crowns inside. It’s not enough to buy a $0.99 app, but it’s about halfway. Bethany explained to Titus that he would need to save his money up. I don’t remember the specifics, but he was a little confused. So we explained to him further about earning money and saving it in his bank. Bethany had the idea that he could do jobs around the house and earn more money–extra tasks outside of normal responsibilities. Titus, of course, got really excited and that’s when I knew we had opened up a can of worms.

Titus and Work (1/22/15)

All day yesterday he couldn’t help but talking about doing “jobs” and making money. At one point I got a call on my phone and it was Titus telling me, “Daddy! I made enough money to buy something!” He was really enthusiastic and it was fun to hear him get excited. Today Bethany let him and Avery take out the recycling which allowed them both to earn a few more crowns each. And apparently in-between jobs Titus is doing a little shopping because he already has his heart set on another purchase.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this for Titus, but I feel like I’m the one learning the most. It’s weird as a parent to engage in this kind of discussion because I have this strange fear of teaching Titus something wrong about money. I keep thinking, “I don’t want Titus to think just because he made some money that he can buy whatever he wants.” I also think, “I don’t want Titus to be a consumer and not be wise with his money” and “I want Titus to be a good steward of what God has provided!” We want him to learn how to work and how to save. We want him to be thankful for what God has given him and make good decisions. I know he’s only four but I feel a pressure to not mess these lessons up. That’s probably a good pressure. It’s reminding me that as Titus grows older he will need more and more help in learning to be wise and he’ll need our instruction to guide. That might sound elementary but it’s what I’ve been thinking about today.

Pray for us as we engage our kids. Parenting requires great balance, patience, and wisdom. Even in these little discussions about money there is a lot to be learned and taught and I just really want to do a good job.


My Last Day on the Job (One Year Ago Today)

One year ago today, I worked my very last day after spending six and a half years with John Paul Mitchell Systems (aka “Paul Mitchell,” the hair care company). I worked as a production graphics person, mostly responsible for product packaging (e.g. the shampoo bottles). Paul Mitchell was a company that took very good care of my family and I worked with some pretty great people. I was twenty three years old when they brought me on and left when I was twenty nine. Those are important years for any young man and for us those years included our first child, the purchase of our first home (condo), our second child, and the sale of our first home. It also included two trips to the Czech Republic which would eventually lead to God calling us here to serve Him full time in ministry.

Here’s a photo of me with the kids on September 12, 2013 (I didn’t have one of us from the 13th).

Family (from 2013)

I look back on those years with fondness of what God did in our lives. The day I was hired we only had $9 in our bank account with nothing on credit and all the bills paid. We were young, married, and we had lots of student loans but at least the bills were paid! I honestly didn’t know what were going to do if I didn’t get the job, but the Lord was gracious to provide for us. I remember thinking I would only spend a year there and see what God would have. Then I spent five and a half more, but on September 13th, 2013, we packed up my office and away we went.

Fast forward to today. Here I am sitting in the Czech Republic writing about what God has done in my life and honestly a few tears have entered my eyes. I just checked through my emails and on September 10th, 2012 (yes, over two years ago) we had our a meeting with the elders at Placerita Baptist Church (our home church) where they formally decided to be our sending church! Almost a year later to the date I left my job at Paul Mitchell (2013). A little more than a week later after I left Paul Mitchell, I was in the car driving two and a half hours north of our town to start a little internship at Grace Church of the Valley, helping with music. God’s timing was perfect and He provided a lot through them and eventually they would decide to support our family to come to Czech. During that time we spent countless hours in our van driving around the country, meeting with churches, spending time with family, raising support, and even driving to Colorado to do missionary training. It was an incredible time for our family and one I will never forget. Finally, on June 23, 2014 we got on an airplane headed for Czech. It’s amazing when you can look back and watch God’s hand move.

I get emotional about the past. It’s hard not to. The hand of God on my life has been utterly amazing and I can say without hesitation that’s it’s only by His amazing grace that He has brought me and my family here. Tonight I am so thankful for all the people God used to train me, disciple me, work with him, support our family, and continue supporting us while we seek to bring the gospel to a dark part of the world. Praise God for a year full of joy, full of laughter, full of fun, full of trusting Him, and full of His amazing grace. It’s all grace.

P.S. I couldn’t help but post this without a few photos so just for good measure here’s a few pics of the kids today.

Playing at the Mall (9/13/14)

Playing at the Mall (9/13/14)


Taking In Another Sunday

Sunday Funday (9/7/14)

We had a bit of a different morning at church today as the children’s ministry started back up with Sunday school. As we walked into church our friend Casey told us we could take Titus to class, but that he wasn’t sure about Avery since she’s only two. I stayed with Avery and Bethany took Titus downstairs to the classroom. When they got in there it was pretty full and Titus went and sat by his friends, Beni and Caleb. You can see them all sitting next to Kristin in the middle against the back wall in the photo above. Bethany ended up staying down there with Titus for the whole service and she said he did pretty well, all things considered (new class, new language, etc.).

Meanwhile, back upstairs, Avery read books to herself and played with stickers while I tried to figure out what was going on in the service. I didn’t get a translation device today, but from what I could tell we were installing a pastor or thanking him, I’m not quite sure. There were a lot of different men speaking and I saw flowers being handed to the pastor and his wife a few times, but when you can’t speak the language all you’re doing is making observations.

Sunday Funday (9/7/14)

I can count on one hand the number of times I remember actually working on a Sunday. Granted, I’m not counting the countless Sundays we have worked at church doing ministry or I have taught, or led music, or maybe been at a youth camp, but today was one of those ministry “working” days. It was necessary in order to finish the leadership training manual we’re creating for our upcoming conference. Myself and the team at JV have all been working very hard to finish this book which has been a bit of a battle with many people traveling during the summer months and us going through a few rounds of edits.

The blessing, however, is that our family went over to Dave and Connie Patty’s house and I worked with Dave on the book (photo above courtesy of Connie) while Bethany and the kids played outside. We had great weather today and the Patty’s have a trampoline and a little playground area that our kids just loved. Since it was taking Dave and a I a while to work through the edits to the book, Bethany ended up driving and exploring the town where she found a new toy store. Below are a few photos and some captions below.

Sunday Funday (9/7/14)

Sunday Funday (9/7/14)

This this store Bethany found that she said was great. She ended up getting the kids some $2 toys, a pinwheel for Avery and some tiny hand cymbals for Titus.

Sunday Funday (9/7/14)

Bethany took the photo (above) because she said that toy was basically identical to something she grew up but hadn’t seen in a while.

Sunday Funday (9/7/14)

There were some toys for the kids to ride on so they took advantage of them.

It’s almost midnight as I write this and I’m pretty tired. I’ve got the live Dodger game on in the background and they need at least two runs to get back in to it. Tomorrow I’ll meet with our communications team and hopefully get that book out to the printer once we do a final review. Dave reminded me today as we were leaving how thankful he was for all the time we’ve put into this and that he believes this will be a book that has the potential to affect many lives and many leaders. That’s a good reminder and not something I want to just overlook when I’m a little tired at the end of a long day.

P.S. Adrian Gonzalez just hit a three run home run to put the Dodgers in the lead. I’ll take it before I hit the hay.