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I had a wonderful Father’s Day weekend this weekend. I have been rare on the updates again, I’m sorry. I have been working on my creative responses, but they are all still in such a rough form, it will take some work to get them to a publishable form. So until then, here’s my sermon from yesterday, Father’s Day, where I preached to our church for the first time.

 

http://lakepoint.podomatic.com/entry/2013-06-16T12_42_19-07_00

I’d love to hear any comments or feedback if you would.

 

This is a superficial post, but I was recently amazed when I saw a comment from my former schoolmate and fellow minster Chad. Apparently people are somehow still visiting this site on occasion. Much Has Happened with the Groves, we are now in Oregon, we have three daughters and God is growing us personally, in our family and vocationally. I apologize to any who have been missing any of my rambling thoughts. My thoughts still ramble, I just have much less time and energy than before. I am trying to spend more time reading good and classic fiction, learning more to play my electric guitar as opposed to my acoustic, and trying to prioritize my Annie and girls as much as possible.

A quick note for the lenten season. I love the liturgical calendar. I love using the calendar to refresh and refocus my walk of faith. This year I richly enjoyed intimate Ash Wednesday times with my small group of guys and then with Annie, yet when it came to thinking through lenten fasting, nothing came to mind or heart to give up. After a little more prayer I felt God’s direction to instead increase my own personal worship time which has been lost in the hecticness of my new schedule. So this Lent I am focusing on worshiping in my heart, with my mind and then with my instrument. I put more work into a project that I began in June 2011 (right after moving from Hawaii) where I began to work to set the Psalms of Ascent to personal and corporate worship songs. I had a fun moment the other day putting work into that.

May you and yours experience a blessed Lenten season that draws you nearer to Our Lord and Savior.

Note – I realize that I need to do some significant editing to the site. I have already begun that process, but I think you’ll see more changes in the coming weeks.

4 years ago today we stood in front of loved ones and vowed to love each other. Much has transpired since, but I know that our love has grown. God is transforming and refining us, and I couldn’t be more happy or blessed. Each year gets better, and the path through those ears moves steadily and consistently forward. I love you, thanks for loving me to. Tonight I would appreciate if you would join me for a fun date.

PS. all those things, the sprints, guitar and Starbucks did help snag me. also you being a smokin hottie is good too

My daughter loves to dance.  If one were to pick a single activity that this almost-two-year-old loves more than any other, I think dancing would top that list.  When she hears any type of music, she can’t help but move to it.  Whether it’s the Hawaiian music at her friend Ty’s baby luau, or the various Putamayo Kids albums we play (not just for kids, btw) or even gettin’ down to Jasan Mraz’s Beautiful Mess (I know, not exactly music for two year olds – she loves it though), she can’t keep her body still when she hears anything even remotely resembling music.

When Ellie dances, she works through a whole repertoire of moves from hip-shakes to little toddler jumps to endless spins.  She looks so happy and proud as she moves around but I notice she looks to us to make sure we notice that she is doing well.  Ellie is not perfect, she has a strong will and doesn’t mind rebelling, but she is definitely innocent.  She dances with all her heart and might because she loves to and because her mommy and daddy see it and encourage her and she is proud of that.  No one has ruined her innocence by telling her she’s bad or she’ll never be a dancer or whatever other ‘realities’ we tell kids, and so she dances with all of who she is.

We adults have a great responsibility to our children.  They are looking at us, watching to see if we notice they are doing something and are trying hard and are having fun.  They are waiting expectantly to hear that they dance or draw or sing beautifully, or that they run fast or build so well, or think so creatively.  Too often we fail them, we give them the truth, when they need encouragement; we give them realities when they need care; we knock them down when we have the greatest chance to build them up.  We have such an important role and we must work hard to build up children when they need it most, and trust that they will realize the realities later (or maybe we’ll realize that those realities really aren’t that important).  I dread the day when someone breaks my little daughter’s heart by telling her she can’t dance, but til then (and probably long after) I will keep watching her dance with a father’s pride, and I will keep telling her how beautifully she dances and I will keep playing the music for her.

Allright, Don.  I get it.  You’ve made your point clearly to my silly, feeble brain.  There’s something important about story.  It started with a podcast I heard where you taught Mars Hill about how their story was important to their lives.  Then we downloaded this other teaching about it from your website.  Then I read your blog where you kept discussing (in an inspiring way, not as though you were beating a dead horse) about how you were writing this book about letting story guide the way you live your life and showing specific examples from your own life, even putting in parts of the book for we readers to look through and help give feedback on.

Then I read the book.  Wow.  First, I must say, that I’ve loved every book of yours that I’ve read (even those ones you mention that didn’t sell very many, I thought they were still great), but your writing has come of age in a powerful and poignant way.  There were multiple times while reading “A Million Miles in A Thousand Years,” when I was moved to tears.  Somehow your writing has become even more honest and meaningful and encouraging.  Thank you for that and for writing this book .  As I finished the book I found myself nearly shouting to my wife and my friend (we all read it together), “Why has nobody ever said this before!?  Of all the story-writers writing all the stories, knowing what makes a good story and what we people intuitively crave in one, and they only use it to sell their own stories?!  Why has no one else defined a story then challenged we common folk to live stories that we would want to read?!”  I still am a little shocked that this is just now coming out, but I’m glad its you who’ve brought this to us.  I am also glad and thankful that throughout, you point to God, our Writer, and how it’s not about what we do, but about following Our Writer’s Voice.

So to that end, and after reading how you wrote your “New Year’s Goals,” I thought I might reflect on the story I am living and look at what story God might be writing for me and my family.   (To my friends and family: Some of these things you read may be old news, some may seem new and weird/crazy, but the reason I am putting it out there is because I need the accountability in my story, I need some stake in the outcome of my story.  There’s not as much of an incentive to do these things if I don’t have my ten readers in on it, so here we go.)

A chubby, lazy character is not good for anyone, and right now that’s what I am.  I want to be a disciplined, healthy young man to look better for my wife, be in better shape to play with my daughters and students, and to keep my mental health positive by being able to feel good about myself.  You don’t watch a movie and root for the slob, and if an author was describing me in a book I wouldn’t read too far, so I want to change this about me.  My readers already know a bit about this and what it’s doing in my life.  They know my progress and what is happening so I won’t elaborate further.  This goal is also already helping me better manage my time and helping me to get up earlier and better.

I want my daughters to know the blessing of serving God and putting yourself out there.  I want our whole family to get out to the Nehemiah House in the Philippines.  Our church is even taking a trip back there in May; our family can’t afford this and it certainly won’t be easy to fly across the ocean with a newborn and 2 year old, but I feel like this is where God’s leading me.  I understand and believe that this is probably not going to happen this year, it would take a true miracle of God to get us over there 2 months after we have a baby.  It sounds crazy, I know, and I’m not going to push it where it isn’t right, but if God wants it for us, who am I to stand against God; also last year while I was in Cagayan De Oro, Mike told me that the next time I came back, I would bring my wife and kids.  The only thing is, we were not pregnant with baby number two then (and he knew we weren’t pregnant), but maybe he was foreshadowing, who knows?

Don, according to you, a good/sympathetic character wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.  Currently, I think I am living that out as I seek to facilitate relationships with teens and Jesus, but I feel drawn to a more difficult and more self-sacrificing story line.  I feel like God may be asking me to give more of myself.  This is going to sound crazy and out of character and maybe even silly, but I think that it would be glorifying to God to become a lawyer and work to right wrongs and injustices in 3rd world countries and maybe even our own.  Right now, UH Law is very affordable, has an Asia and Pacific discipline and will keep us here in HI a little longer.  This story is going to be really difficult.  Law school is hard and time-consuming.  What I’m looking to do is not going to pay well, and so I must rely on God to find the best way to support my family.  Also the legal profession provides the dangerous lures of self-reliance, pride, greed, and any number of other pitfalls to pull me away from Christ and my family. After all that, though, I think that the story God wants for my life involves those conflicts and dangers and victories.   It probably is no small coincidence that I have been thinking about and praying about this for a while and trying to figure out if it is right, and then I read your book, feel called to a better story, and this idea keeps coming to my mind the whole time I’m reading (it also doesn’t hurt that Bob is a lawyer who works to right wrongs in 3rd world countries, and that he coincidentally mentored one of my best friends while he (Andy) was in college and even got him (again, Andy) excited about this line of work.  Whew, that’s a sidebar!)

Finally, what I think is most important, I want to be the kind of husband and father that a reader would root for, respect and that provides the love and time and care that my wife and daughters deserve.  I don’t think anyone roots for the crappy parent in a movie or novel, and we all get behind those parents who give sacrificially, and really are the parents we want to be.  I figure, why don’t I start being the parent I want to be, and stop thinking about not being the parent I want to be.  To do this,  I need to get past the laziness and sloth that keeps me sitting at home and doing nothing.  I want to take my wife and daughters on fun, cheap, memorable dates and I want us to treasure our time together and the memories that it creates.  This will take great creativity and willpower as I am not normally the type to figure out, plan and enact memorable dates and family outings.  We’re trying for it, and as you say, Don, it’s better for us to try these things and fail gloriously than to do nothing at all.  So thanks again, Don.  You may have been my inciting incident, and my life might never look the same, and I might be the child of God, man, husband, and father that I dream of being, all because you wouldn’t let up on this story business.

It feels like so much is going on in my world right now and the last thing I have time for is writing.  Additionally, I feel like so much of what’s going on has created in me an inability to shape these thoughts cohesively to present to others.  We wrapped up 2009, one of the hardest years I can remember and moved into 2010 with one final crotch-kick from 2009 as Annie, Ellie and I all spent the First week of 2010 cooped up in our house with the stomach bug from hell.  We are recovering now, though it is still taking a long time.  As I previously said, I don’t know how to formulate these coherently so its going to come at you in a sort of bullet-point-stream-of-consciousness form.

  • The disastrous tragedy in Haiti is incomprehensible and has caused so many to question how a “Good God” can allow such tragedy and destruction.  It has also caused some to proclaim God’s judgment and many others to explain why we can still love and trust God in the midst of this, I have been encouraged by the latter and encourage any and all who read to check out some of these links, as well as to be God’s body here on earth to this nation through prayer and compassion giving.  Here’s Ben Wintherington III, Donald Miller/ Mark Stuart, Adam Mclane, and Andrew Jones
  • One of my Christmas presents from Annie was Donald Miller’s most recent book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  It took me 3 sessions and 3 days to read it.  The book is fantastic and the best he has yet written.  I was moved nearly to the point of tears multiple times and the book’s message has given both Annie (she’s now almost finished it) and me a gut-check that is helping to shape and change the way we live even now.  I don’t want to ruin the book for any who want to read it, but the premise is that if we look at our lives as stories, then we will live them differently.  I highly recommend this book with the caveat that you should not read it if you don’t want to be challenged and inspired (and disturbed, as Rob Bell reviews in the liner notes)
  • Ellie is growing and changing so much.  She has been doing things more and more like a girl and less and less like a baby.  She has become sort-of compulsive about cleaning and now insists on clearing and wiping her own tray after meals and she can regularly be seen wandering around the house with a paper towel or wipe or rag cleaning away.  She’s also talking much more.  She has been babbling and speaking in full sentences to us (in her own nonsensical language), even gesturing and changing her facial expressions while she looks us in the eyes to communicate some great truth.  The the other day, she took it to the next level by speaking her first real, unprovoked, non-parroted sentence; “I like food,”.  This has led way to others, notably today saying, “I(‘m) a baby,” to which I replied, “Ellie, you’re not a baby, you’re a big girl!”
  • My mind has begun wrapping around the idea that we  have two children and particularly two girls, I can’t really express it yet, but I am (and have been) very excited to be a family of four and the father of two girls.  These are uncharted waters for me, I am a guy and grew up in a house full of guys (and my poor sister had to deal with only brothers) and I honestly am about the dumbest guy when it comes to girls.  I don’t understand how they think and other things like that, but I know that God isn’t putting me in too far over my head, so I know it will be good and I will learn a little more about how to understand and relate to girls.
  • With gift money from my last birthday and this Christmas and a little I had saved on my own, I was able to recently buy an electric guitar and amp.  I have had a blast jamming and practicing scales this past week.
  • We are beginning a crown financial ministries study this month with a couple other young couples and our friends the Metcalfs.  Craig has taken these classes and is an instructor so he is graciously leading us through this study that will teach us how to better handle God’s money.
  • It’s an El Nino year and the surf has been so great this whole winter on the north shore.  It has been much bigger than my feeble abilities can handle and everywhere else has been too small for my large size/feeble abilities.  They even ran The Eddie, Quicksilver’s big wave competition at Waimea Bay.  I have had a surf drought and it’s no fun.  I miss the ocean and surfing.
  • My weight loss and workout plan is progressing pretty well after the holiday hiccup and time off for stomach bug.  This has been a good week of workouts and my eating habits have improved (and probably my appetite decreased). I weighed myself Tuesday and weighed 252lbs, which might not sound great but then I realized it means I have lost 15lbs since I started in late September and am about halfway to my goal of 235 (251 is technically halfway).  It has also been great to see some of my strength coming back as I continue to push myself in the weights.  I typically go in an start with 20 minutes on the elliptical, then move on to a fast (45 minute) weights session where I alternate between working back, legs,  shoulders and biceps one day and chest, legs, triceps and shoulders the other, and I finish with a quick but grueling ab workout that takes 5 minutes or less.  The leg and shoulder exercises are very different so I won’t develop overuse injuries.  It has also been fun meeting new people at the Y, as well as seeing more of others that I know from church and from when I coached football.

Well, I think that’s all I have for now, hopefully I can further delve into some of these topics in future posts as I have more time and clarity to do so.  Aloha from Hawaii.

Today has been quite an interesting morning.  I have been pretty tired lately, and this usually happens after we have had house guests and so I was not surprised when I slept in past 8 (despite going to bed at around 10:30).  I groggily got up and made some french toast for the whole family.  Annie finished up her meal and headed off for a meeting, so Ellie and I finished eating and then I changed her diaper, put a dress on her and went to take out Rowdy and take Ellie to Annie over at the offices.

So Rowdy is in the back yard, I take Ellie over, and come back to get the excited dog and bring him inside to feed him.  As we open up the screen door to the back porch I notice that the poop smell I smelled earlier is still around (yes this is a poop story, continue only if you have a strong stomach or really want to laugh).  I had thought the smell was from the bag of diapers on Ellie’s changing table and I was partly right.  The rest however, came from our dog pooping some giant turds on our back porch.  to his credit he clearly was trying to keep it contained because it was all in one spot, but he also had clearly been sick last night because more than one giant turd lay before me at the edge of the porch.  I called him over, gave him a swat and sent him into his kennel, then began the task of removing this gross pile before me.

As I got a hose and hooked it to a spigot, then sprayed down the edge of the porch I was thinking a couple things: 1. Really?! Really?! Those two times I took you out before bed last night were not enough to satisfy your intestinal needs?! 2. This is so gross and so funny.  It looked like some large man had been sick and it all came out the back end on this spot of my porch.  I also wondered how all that fit in my 40 lbs dog. 3. I’m glad I already ate breakfast. 4. I’m glad Ellie is not here, she would find a way to be inquisitive and make this experience horrible. 5. I’m glad Annie’s not here, she has a week stomach for poop episodes. 6. I am thankful that God is making me more patient.  I didn’t yell at the dog, I only swatted him once and it wasn’t out of anger, and all this is happening when my neck has a really painful crick because I slept on it wrong.  I  often worry about my anger and temper, and frequently ask God to make me more patient and gentle.  It is nice to see this little improvement and that God is faithful in literally working against all my nature to make me more into who God wants me to be. 7. I really wanted to take a picture to accompany this post, but thought that my words would have to suffice in describing the grossness of this episode.  8.  This is ridiculously gross and funny.

To wrap the episode up, the porch is clean, I used bleach and then vinegar to sanitize and remove/cover scent, Annie laughed, Ellie didn’t even know and Sean Palmer empathized through the many different dog-poo-episodes he has shared with me.  Welcome to paradise

So that’s an update from Casa de Groves, heres hoping the weather improves, the waves improve and my neck feels better so I can cleanse myself with some surf.

It seems my life is starting to get back to normal after I had to spend a couple weeks away from my ladies.  It makes life a little crazy to be by yourself and try to maintain things that it usually takes two people to maintain, let alone trying to do that without your support system.  Well, I am back with my family and we are struggling through this week a little as Ellie is having a hard time napping and pooping for some reason (she’s even crying in her crib right now, just like she has for much of the last 4 days).  We think she’s adjusting, maybe she’s also teething and getting ready to pass some other milestone or marker in her life.

She does love being back, though.  When I first saw her Sunday night, she seemed like she was still trying to remember  who I was, though she was happy to see me.  I am very thankful for technology, because with ichatting and speaker phone, she was able to remember much better.  But since then, more and more she has grown attached to me and has been babbling “dadadadadadada” all the time the last couple days.  Nothing could melt my heart more than this little one army-crawling close to me on the bed in the morning saying, “dadaddadada”.  I love it.

I am also sorry that this blog has not really been operational too much lately, I am just super busy.  I know that’s not an excuse really, but I am also being spiritually focused on diving into the gospel of Mark in every part of my life.  I am working to create a second resources blog/page where I can post my thoughts and reflections and lessons from Mark and hopefully open it up to discussion and constructive criticism.  Thanks to all the loyal readers who I dissapoint with my posting infrequency. More to come (hopefully)

JD

oh what a funnny face

oh what a funnny face

This weekend was my 25th birthday, in fact it was even my golden birthday.  Annie and I were planning a pretty mellow day (that was a birthday request) and were going to go to the beach for some body-surfing, come back and grill something special (other than the inexpensive standards of pork chops or chicken) and finish the evening watching a movie and not staying up too late. Annie also encouraged me to try to make sure I spent Friday afternoon Body-surfing so I made sure I planned to go with one of our HS-ers, Brandon.

So Thursday morning I woke up and was tired, Annie told me  about how she wanted to go do some work at a coffee shop.  I bugged her a little bit about making sure we don’t spend too much time and money at coffee shops and she went off shortly after.  I spent the morning reading and studying, and around noon I was getting ready to go over to our lunchtime bible club at Kailua High School.  I went to the cottage to get my keys and when I stepped out our white neon pulled up.  Annie was there and it looked like somone else was in the front seat also.  I figured she saw someone at the coffee shop and gave them a ride to church.

She got out and I asked, “Is there someone in the car with you?”  She answered that yes there was and out of the car stepped my ‘little’ brother Kenn.  Who lives in Oregon.  Across the ocean.

It took my mind a couple moments to understand what was going on.  I hadn’t expected to see Kenn in a while, but there he was!  They let me know it was a surprise they planned out and that Kenn was spending my birthday weekend with us out here in HI.  It was totally one of the best surprises ever, and very sweet of the two of them to conspire to make it happen.  All in all Kenn and I went bodysurfing 3 times over the weekend and would have gone a fourth had the weather and waves not skunked us on the North Shore.

Sean and John, morning wake up

Sean and John, morning wake up

We had a great time hanging out together: cooking, making bread, making our own chocolate haupia pies, watching Friends and movies.  Saturday morning (the actual birthday) i was planning on sleeping in, and did, but woke up to my two friends, Sean and John at the foot of my bed singing Felice Cumpleanos a Ti (Happy Birthday in Spanish).  We went out to breakfast with another friend, Trey, and my brother-in-law Pat.  Another awesome surprise for the birthday weekend.

Gettin out of the water
Surfin' like champs

Surfin

Gettin out of the water

Thanks to all for the birthday wishes, for your friendships and generosity.  Love you guys and am excited to be 25 and not pay more for rental cars!!!!!!!

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