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My Family

March 30, 2012

Well… 3 1/2 months into having a legit family and I still have yet to blog about it or share much about what life has been like. I say a “legit” because for some reason I feel like it you have 2 kids you all of the sudden become a real family. 

So Micah James joined us on December 16, 2012. He is a little stud that is seriously as cute as they come (what parent doesn’t say that?). 2 kids can be tricky. I am not quite sure why anyone would have more than 2. We went from double teaming Ethan to man to man. Man to man can be real tiring. 

So let me tell you about my boys. Ethan is doing so good as a big brother. I love watching him be a brother to Micah. Anytime Micah is crying Ethan informs us “Baby crying”. Then he says something like “It’s ok Micah, no cry”. It pretty much melts your heart every time. Ethan is going through this phase where he is wearing my hats, ALL THE TIME. If you see Ethan, there is a really good chance that you will see him wearing one of my hats. He even wears them to day care. Anyways, he was wearing one yesterday morning while drinking his milk in my bed. I hear him start to giggle, then a full on laugh. I turned around and asked him what was funny. He said “look at Micah”, so I take a look and Ethan had put his (my) hat on Micah and he thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen. Stuff like that is priceless. 

Every night Ethan and I have a routine that we do before it’s time for “nite-nites”. We change him, get his pj’s on, brush our teeth, get all the animals in bed, then my favorite! Right before he goes to sleep the last thing we do is what I call “kisses, noses, cuddles, and hugs”. We go through each of those and make sure that we get good cuddles in, a good hug, eskimo kisses, and a kiss goodnight. It’s my FAVORITE! Ethan refuses to pray at night, which is funny in it’s own right. He fro some reason thinks it is no good. “No pray, no pray, no pray!!!” Kid doesn’t like to pray at night. 

Micah is still just an infant, so there really isn’t a ton happening in his world. He smiles now, laughs a little, spits up a lot, and cries a good amount. I think he is gonna look a little more like me than Ethan. He has some lighter hair than E, and maybe some big blue eyes. We are trying to teach Ethan that he has a built in best friend. Micah was given to us so that E could have a best friend and so he could protect his little brother. It’s exciting to think about the future with our boys and how our family will function. 

Liz has been great with the boys. She was made to be a mom. She is so good at doing that. She went back to work this week and survived the week. I actually think it is better for her to work then come home and be with the boys. I could be wrong, but she seems to function better when she has had some time away from the boys. (I don’t mean that I think she needs to be at work because I want her doing that, don’t get me in trouble)

Anyways… I am loving this stage of life. I love my boys. I love my wife. It is a good time. 

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I’m GOING BACK!!!

January 30, 2012

I hoped that this day would come again. Honestly, I didn’t think that I would have a chance this quickly, but I am so grateful that I do. Malawi here I come!!!

I will be leading a team this summer of 15 High School students (yep, HS STUDENTS!) and 2 other adults. We are going to be working with Somebody Cares again (I wrote about them HERE). I love that organization so much, and I love what they are doing to bring hope to hurting and under privileged people. They are true heroes. Our team will be going to do whatever it is that they need us to do. Usually that consist of brick making, feeding and playing with some children, sharing the good news of Jesus with all who have ears, and serving in whatever capacity we can. The opportunity that these young people have at their age is literally priceless. I did not have an opportunity like this when I was in High School, I don’t know if it would have mattered to me then anyways. I am amped for these students. I love that they are going to have the chance to experience this completely different culture, experience a different part of the world, and see that the Kingdom of God is much bigger than Gilbert, AZ. Our High School Pastor, Ryan Guard, will have just had a baby come time for this trip… So he will be playing Daddy to a newborn at this time. That is the reason that I have this sweet opportunity. We are going in June, which will be here before I know it.

I will need to raise some funds for this trip as well. It is hard coming back and asking for      support again… but I am doing it ONLY because I believe 100% in this trip and in what Somebody Cares is accomplishing. I remember thinking before I went last time ” How much more can we do over there? We’ve sent a lot of teams, a bunch of money, and a ton of resources over there, how much more is there to do?” Well… That answer came quickly. There is soooooo much to be done. There are still kids without meals, shoes, and an education. There are still sick mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters without basic health care. There are people by the thousands who have not been introduced to Jesus as savior. The work is plenty, but the workers are few.

Besides… Somebody Cares loves when people come and see for themselves. It is easy to send a check over seas. It is hard to sit with a woman who is dying of AIDS. It is hard to see kids with bloated bellies from a lack of food. It is hard to see the women walk miles to get water from an unclean drinking source. But that hard work is so important. We must tell the story. I want to help tell that story. I want to help 15 amazing students to learn the story, then come back and do something about that story.

Here is what you can do… #1 Pray. Pray for me. I have to admit that leading a team is a bit scary. I am the man. I am in charge. Pray for me. Pray for the students. #2 Support. We can’t go without the funds. Some of us feel called to go, some are called to give, and all are called to pray. #3 Talk with me. Pick my brain, help sharpen me, help prepare me. I find that when I process things out loud and talk with people, I am a better man for it. So let’s talk.

If you would like to support me, I will have the information made available very soon. You can facebook me here , you can tweet me here , or you can email me here. Or just leave a comment. I will have the information made available VERY soon. Thanks for taking the time to read, and thanks for joining me in this process.

Kids Singing “this little light of mine”

2 Years Old

December 14, 2011

It is crazy how quickly time goes by. I am not the first person to say that, but it became very real to me this past weekend celebrating my sons 2nd birthday. Ethan is 2 years old now and is still the joy of our lives. We are trying to get as much time in with him as we can before Micah gets here. We know that life is going to change again any minute now. Liz’s due date is… oh yeah, TODAY! Micah James is loving being in mommy’s tummy, so he is not ready to come out and meet  the world yet.

Ethan is so much fun right now. His favorite thing to do is to go to Nana and Papa’s house. He loves to see them, but he really loves running around on their back patio and playing with the dogs. He stills loves him some Veggietales, but he also is loving The Lion King, Nemo, Cars, and Toy Story 3. He knows the colors blue, and amarillo (yellow). When he says amarillo, he makes his voice go way up on the ri (ree) part, super cute and funny.

If I am honest, I don’t know what it is going to be like when Micah comes, because for 2 years now I have been focused on Ethan and loving him. Now I have this new little guy that is going to be coming into our lives and it seems weird to think that I am going to be focusing on him as well. I am sure that it is going to be great, I just can’t imagine what it is going to be like.

Well… 2 awesome years down, and hopefully many many more with my family. Last night as we were praying for Micah, I was telling God that I can’t believe that he has entrusted these 2 lil men to Liz and I. It sounds weird, but the truth is that my 2 guys are not really mine, God has just given me the privilege of being their dad. For that, I am thankful.

What do you care about?

October 24, 2011

I am a recovering, at time still struggling, sports fanatic. Sports used to consume my time, cares, and passions. I would watch sports all day long, follow each major sport closely, and get emotionally involved in the games. I know, it sounds ridiculous. I once had 3 tears stream down my face when the Phoenix Suns lost to the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. I remember that night because that night was the night the I realized I had a serious problem. I cared way too much about sports. At times, I still do.

There are so many things that are more important. This is going to be a bit of a rant, but there have been a few things that have been on my mind lately. Why don’t we care about things going on in this country that are seemingly not good for us? I look at things that we put up with, or do not know about, or just plain don’t care about, but I think we should.

For example, I read this short blog post about student loans tonight. Incredible that in our country we have so many young people going into debt for an education. My wife and I began our marriage with over $100,000 in school loans. Not exactly the way you want to start a life together.

How about the issue of the food that we eat and the state of our countries health problems. Again, I am living this right now. My mom has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and my family has been ravaged by cancer. My wife and I watched the documentary Fork over Knives and we have had to rethink the way we eat and look at food. Why don’t we know about some of this information that is presented in this documentary? The main idea is that we are a society that lives on an animal-based diet, but that we really need to be on a plant-based diet. It may sound like a hippy thing to be talking about, but I strongly encourage you to take a look at the documentary and decide for yourself.

I still am disgusted at our worship of the celebrity. We love us some celebrity here in America. Actors/Actresses, rock stars, athletes, models, and other wealthy people. We want so badly to know what they are doing, eating, wearing, you name it. We pay them loads of money for entertainment purposes. Millions upon millions. Think about that. We pay them millions to act. To play a game. Meanwhile our teachers aren’t able to afford a standard house payment?

I don’t trust anyone in Washington. Granted, I don’t know any of them personally, and I am by no means a political junkie. I don’t follow politics too much, I never know who to trust and listen to. I guess my hesitation comes from really being curious if anyone in Washington actually has the interest of the people in mind. I mean really cares about the person. There is too much lobbying going on, too much special interest, too much other stuff going on. Show me someone that is really concerned for us, and I may give you my vote.

I believe that we have to make some serious changes in our country to make some head way on these issues. I can only start with me and my family. I want to care about this stuff more than a sports score. ( I am typing this as I watch game 6 of the World Series, ha)

So… What do you care about?

This post can be broken up into 8 other posts, but I have had some of this stuff on my mind lately. There is more, but for the sake of keeping this shorter than a short book, I will stop here.

What do you think? Do any of these eek you at all? How do we make some changes?

Beautiful Disruptions

October 2, 2011

I want to preface by saying that this is not an original thought of mine, but I am sure I have heard it before from someone, somewhere.

Tonight I just got home from a great weekend at the National Youth Workers Convention in San Diego. I love that conference. There are so many brilliant minds and a ton of people that LOVE students there. I love that I can surround myself with people that love students. Anyways, back to the point of this post.

I came home tonight from a long weekend away from home. I missed my wife and kid like crazy, and when I say crazy, I mean it. I really missed them.

Five minuetes after I got home my son woke up, crying, and obviously not very happy. So, I had a beautiful disruption. A disruption is something that is not planned, not on the schedule, and typically an annoying sort of interruption into our lives. I did not plan on seeing or holding my son tonight. I knew he would be long asleep when I arrived home around 9p (2 hours after his bedtime). But here I am, five minutes into my arrival, going upstairs to hold my son and comfort him. This is the beautiful disruption that I longed for after a week away from home.

It happened twice tonight. He woke up, allowed me to hold him, and then he fell asleep on my chest. I could tell there was some sort of comfort that I was home, there was an unspoken peace about me holding him. It was the BEAUTIFUL.

That got me thinking… when else do I have beautiful disruptions? When else do things unplanned happen, and do I ever take a second to step back and try and see the beauty in that situation? I can tell you that I probably miss a bunch of beautiful disruptions.  I am more concerned with the tasks at hand or my own desires at that moment. How about when someone just needs someone to talk to? They need human interaction, a real person to comfort them, listen to them, acknowledge them. Am I there for that, or am I too preoccupied?

How many times do I let little things with very little significant value get in the way of significant things? Like relationships with people?

How about you? When do you miss the beautiful disruptions?

Tonight I had the chance to sit with my son. I held him, cuddled him, and prayed for him. I got to pull him close and I am sure that in that moment he knew that daddy loved him. It was the best disruption, you could call it beautiful.

 

They are Watching

April 15, 2011

Our kids are watching us. Every move we make, every word we say, every interaction with friends, foes, and family. They are watching.

I think we sometimes want to think that we can live by the motto “do as I say, not as I do”, but we all know that doesn’t work. Wait… we all know that, right?

As parents and as adults we have a responsibility to demonstrate to our kids, our friends kids, and our general population of youth what it looks like to be a part of a larger community of people. We are given the responsibility to show them how to treat other people, how to speak to them, how to make wise choices, how…. and the list can go forever.

I work with students, that is my job. I have the privilege and honor of being given a voice in the lives of students on a weekly basis. I try and understand the weight of responsibility that I am given in that I am an example. My job is to pastor and shepherd students, but along with that comes the fact that I am going to an example of what it looks like to follow Christ and what it looks like to be an adult in everyday life. My students are watching me. When I speak to our facilities guys, they are watching. When I talk about politicians, they are listening. When I am put in awkward situations ( I work with jr. highers, so this is pretty regular), they are watching. Kids spit out what they are fed. If we are feeding them garbage, they are spitting it back out. If we feed them positive stuff, they too will spit that back out.

I often hear people say things like: “these kids today have no manners”, “kids today are rude and disrespectful”, “our future is in trouble”. Well… they learned it from somewhere, right?

So… the charge, the responsibility, the weight, is on us. We have to show the next generations how to love, live, and act. We have to put on display what it looks like to treat people with respect. If we don’t agree with someone, we must show them how to handle that situation in love. It truly does take a village to raise a kid. I just hope we have a decent village to do it in.

I talked a little bit about what they looks like in our family here.

What do you think? What is your experience with kids/students?

The Big D

April 8, 2011

 

So this is a cheezy title, and no I am not talking about Dallas, or divorce (referring to the country song). I am talking about Discipleship.

Discipleship is one of the most important aspects of being a Christ follower. Jesus himself gave us to perfect example of what it look like to invest and care for disciples. I think of Jesus and what He did with His disciples. He said to Peter, “Come follow me, I will make you a fisher of men”. Come and follow me. As one who is doing the discipling, Jesus says to follow Him. He will lead the way. He will give the example. Jesus had 12 men who followed Him, lived with Him, watched and studied Him, and trusted Him.

As one who believes whole-heartedly in the discipleship process, I want to look at this model and make sure I am emulating it. Both as one who disciples and one who is discipled.

There are some cool things happening in the Barton household. I am thinking specifically of this arena of discipleship. Tomorrow morning my wife is beginning a bi-weekly meeting with 3 young ladies (college age). She is doing this all with the idea of discipleship in mind. I will be following suit on Sunday night with 5 guys that I already care for deeply. I have the privilege of meeting with 4 of my leaders, and 1 husband of a leader on a weekly basis.

To some extent I don’t think Liz and I really know what we are signing up for. We both are stoked, but we both may be a bit naive. Naive only in the sense that this is a great responsibility. We are embarking on a journey that is hoping to make disciples so those men/women can now go and make disciples as well.

Recently I read a great book, Radical, by David Platt (review coming soon). In the book, David Platt talks about many things, one being the process and idea of discipleship. One of the last things Jesus says is to go and make disciples. So Platt gives much attention to this command. Here is a quote that I love, and I find encouraging for me as I head into this new venture of discipleship.

Making disciples is not an easy process. It is trying. It is messy. It is slow, tedious, even painful at times. It is all these things because it is relational. Jesus has not given us an effortless step-by-step formula for impacting the nations fo his glory. He has given us people, and he has said, “Live for them. Love them, serve them, and lead them. Lead them to follow me, and lead them to lead others to follow me. In the process you will multiply the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Go make disciples.