It’s the Little Things

Lots of places to go with a title like that, huh?

It has come to my attention (who starts a sentence like that outside of British Parliament?) in the last few days and/or weeks through a bit of gentle appropriate reminding by my wife that I am failing.

I am failing to create time within our marriage to converse and grow. I am failing to carve out special moments for the two of us to share. And I am failing, mostly, to grasp that our wedded bliss is about something other than my day-to-day happiness.

Not abject failures, but failures nonetheless.

The good news, for me, and for any of you XY’s out there, is that I’m (we’re) close.

10 minutes of turning my phone off and being locked into what my wife is saying here. 15 minutes of shutting the computer down and cooking a quick dinner with her there. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a wife whose attention span rivals that of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, so she doesn’t ask for multiple-hour-long blocks. She just wants me, the person she married, to be here, the place we live for short amounts of memorable time together.

Like I said…the little things.

Honesty = Best Policy

Can I revel in a moment of transparency right now?

Well you can’t really stop me so here goes…I was supposed to write the post today. I was supposed to come up with something witty or enlightening or maybe spiritual and post it for all our readers to sift through.

Jen and I usually trade off (or try to trade off) doing the posts every other day and today was my day.

But I got distracted last night and woke up really late this morning. I was watching the Thunder and “I’ll write the post after this shot” turned into “my gosh it’s 1 AM and I’m completely exhausted” and well…here we are.

So I apologize for those of you coming today for something deep and to those of you who are coming for the first time wondering “who is this joker who won’t stop pontificating about the post he should have written in the time he could have actually completed a real post.” I apologize.

And as reparations for my misdeeds I offer you this, the culmination of my Monday night Tuesday morning.

Sunday Letters

Dear Jennifer,

I’d love to be able to write you some kind of hey, happy “we have lots of kids and I’m glad you’re the one in charge of taking care of them 24/7 and not me!” kind of letter today, on Mother’s Day.

Wait, no, no I wouldn’t.

Although now that I think about it, it would have been rather humorous if you’d written a lengthy Sunday letter to me today stating that we could, in fact, celebrate Mother’s Day nine months from now. And that was how I found out about our future mini-Porters.

No, wait, that wouldn’t have been funny either. Subversive, yes, but not funny.

I think instead it might be good if I just write to you about how thankful I am for our moms which they’ll both enjoy if, God bless them, they’re still reading these posts.

It might be good if I remind you when we get in fights that a lot of that is the independent spirit we inherited from both of our mothers and their hard-headed, if not usually correct way of doing things. I should probably remember to remind you of that after the fact rather than in the moment. Mental note.

Or maybe every time we make a new couple friend we should be grateful that we both inherited our mothers’ verbal (and non-verbal) communication skills, outgoing as they both may be.

It’s fitting, too, that we’re both so interested in entrepreneurial endeavors. I consider that a gift from our moms – yours with her craft store and mine with her personal quilting business. I think that’s one of my favorite things we took from them.

So on today, as we celebrate moms and all their ways I’m thankful that you have a blueprint for who you want to be, what the Lord wants from you. I’m thankful that God blessed us both with moms who cared enough to tell us no and loved us more than we, even now, can ever fathom. You’ll experience it someday, it’s the simple (yet complex) circle of life, and it’s beautiful and sad and funny and probably just a little bit ironic.

And I pray that you would carve out your own mom-ship with our children and that when you don’t know what to do or where to turn you have a pair of people who will know. A pair of wise old women who will just know what you’re going through and what everything was like at that age who will help you make it through.

Because, as I’m sure you’re well aware, moms just always…know.

Happy Mother’s Day to our moms and Happy Future Mother’s Day to you, Jen.

Love, Kyle

Lights

Standing in the middle of the field as a tepid breeze whistles in my ear, the sound of dirt and spit and discarded sunflower seeds crunching beneath my feet. The lights dancing off the chain link fence as 25-year old boys, mostly boys, run around playing like 5-year old boys with bloody knees and semi-inflated egos.

It’s my favorite place in the world to be. Not playing softball per se, but outside, under the stars with great friends and my wife watching and eternity on the horizon, just below the moon. How could it not be?

And as I marched around shortstop last night at our game, in between innings while girls speckled the air with their pitchy voices and those aforementioned boys loosened their muscles by waving bats over their heads I thought about how all of this is so very much like what I do every day with God.

See in softball, as is the case with most semi-sedentary sports, there are precious few seconds of live roll-the-cameras lace-up-your-spikes action. Most of time is filled with dirt being swept from side to side, gloves being smacked with balled up fists, and chalk dancing out of the straight line it was supposed to represent.

Most of the time you’re sitting there thinking, preparing for the 3-4 seconds of complete chaos that uncovers this truth about who you are as an athlete, as a ballplayer.

As extrapolations go, it’s a pretty good one, because I find my walk with God and my spiritual, if not actual, life to be much of the same. Hours of preparation and discipline equals success. But as is the case with both, one slip of the mind into something other than what is in front of me and poof, ballgame.

So how will it be? What is my priority? Can I focus on the day, on the moment? Do I have it in me to be humbled to the point that all I am is rigorously focused on that which is important?

The sound of metal on cork slices the air as my eardrums react negatively. The ball is rocketing up the middle of the field at a pace so frenetic I can’t even process it. I take one sharp step to my left, cross over with my right, and leave my feet…

I hope my mind was clear.

I hope I was focused.

Photo Attribution

The Words We Speak

I think a lot about words. In fact, I spend most of my days thinking about words: the ones I read, the ones I try to write, the ones I want to say to people. Words are, in many ways, are the currency by which we trade ideas, thoughts, and even feelings.

So why is it that so often I find my movements, the things my body and my eyes and my hands and my feet and my mouth do, stray so far from the words I write and think?

I write that I love my wife and yet the words I say to her belie that. I think I’m disciplined and yet my ability to hit find the “snooze” button without touching the “OK” button on my iPhone is unparalleled. (Seriously- if that were an Olympic event I’d be representing the U.S. every four years). I blog on here that I am this or I do that and yet, nine times out of ten, I find my actions betraying that which I believe.

Paul wrote on this extensively in Romans, I know, it just seems so…other…to me that I, in all my humanness, am unable to overcome such things.

We are taught from a young age that we can overcome, that we can be stronger than the strength of the world, that we can outlast the daggers of sin and shame.

Which is why it seems so foreign to me that I need God in such a simplistic way, and yet I do. I always do.

The Resistance

I’m reading a book right now, a really good book that I’d recommend to anyone, no matter your age or place in life. It’s called The War of Art and it’s kind of about becoming a better artist in your given profession, but mostly about defeating the resistance.

What is the resistance you might be asking. The resistance, as explained by Staven Pressfield, is anything that keeps us from doing the work we’re supposed to be doing.

So for me, when I sit down to write or plan a project, the resistance consists of the following things:

  • Twitter
  • Food and/or coffee
  • Any www I frequent for pleasure and/or entertainment
  • Thinking about anything that isn’t my work
  • Twitter (again)
  • My phone
  • My wife

The list is not concise. I basically have to shut everything down and just spend some time inside my own head, thinking, pontificating, and writing ideas.

I’m terrible at it though, I always give in. I always find myself moseying around in the Twitter world or (and I’m so embarrassed of this) playing Angry Birds on our iPad.

The resistance is strong. What are you doing to defeat it?

Oh…and happy #royalwedding day…

Loving Comfort

I was talking to a friend the other day about this idea of comfort. We both agreed that as a human race we most often seek out comfort above all other things.

I told him, I don’t care if I’m wealthy or I have a bunch of stuff or even if I’m successful, I just want to be comfortable in this life. Think about it, when talking world problems we almost always try to solve them by making the sufferers of such problems more confortable.

That plays itself out in our marriage too. Instead of confronting that extra $44 we shouldn’t have spent on the entertainment section of our budget for April, we let it slide. We plan vacations to cushy islands, not mission trips to war-strewn third world countries. We gravitate towards what’s easy, the path of least resistance.

Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with nice vacations or going to the movies at $22 a pop (actually there is something wrong with that, but it has nothing to do with me or you).

What I’m saying is that, when given the choice, Jesus sought out trial over free pass and pain over painless. Those things didn’t just come to him as if magically produced by life, He went after them. He saw the eternal gain in subjecting Himself to temporary physical and emotional decimation to become more like His father.

And we can barely fast for a day to catch a glimpse of this.