Life Realignment

Vacations provide an opportunity to catch our breath. Just about every time Joleen and I are on vacation we usually end up talking about adjustments we need to make in our lives to maintain a healthy way of living so that we don’t get so “out of breath” along life’s journey when we’re not on vacation.

Now, as we complete this vacation and move forward, there are four things that we need to focus on …

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Rest
  • Tank-Filling Activities (check out a brief summary of a sermon on “Filling Your Tank” in a post on A Resilient Life).

Watch for a post on each of these four areas over the next several days describing why we think each is important and how we plan to do develop each area in our lives.

Similar to what I wrote recently in my post on Routines, these areas have been thrown into a tailspin this year and are in need of revamping. We plan to work on these areas in the days ahead.

All four of these areas are important for our health. We have extra motivation, too, with Ethan. We want Ethan to learn these practices as he grows.

And we’re counting on one of the “side effects” of these practices (i.e., healthy living) — more energy! 🙂

Learning the Boundaries

IMG_1414Life is full of boundaries — moral, ethical, and legal boundaries. There are some things you cannot do. There are limits. When you cross a boundary, there are consequences.

Knowing the boundaries is important!

This lesson was driven home to us this week as we spent time at Joleen’s aunt and uncle’s house in New Jersey. Because it was a new place, Ethan didn’t know the boundaries — everything was in play.

We had to watch him constantly to keep him from getting into things he needed to stay out of — fragile things, the dog’s food dish, a large cactus plant, etc.

As Ethan matures it will become more and more important that he knows where the boundaries are. Hopefully, learning the boundaries now will prepare him for a strong, healthy life down the road.

This week at Jim and Wanda’s, Ethan learned to open a door for the first time, making knowing the boundaries now even more important!

Ethan’s Day at the Beach

Ethan made his first trip to the beach on Wednesday. Ocean City, NJ is just a quick one hour drive from where my aunt and uncle live. We arrived late morning and spent the afternoon there.

Ethan really enjoyed playing in the sand. We took a wagon of sand toys we had purchased earlier this summer when we got his inflatable pool. His favorite part was shoveling. Wanda and I enjoyed using the molds to make assorted shapes in the sand. Ethan enjoyed knocking the tall ones over!

Ethan did not take to the ocean water too well. He didn’t want in it, but was okay to be held while we stood in it. When we got back to the house I gave him a bath first thing and he cried … he didn’t want in the tub water either, which has never been a big deal before.

We all had a fun day, except for the sunburn that Randy got on his feet and I got on my back. Thankfully Ethan was well covered in sunscreen.

Vacation in New Jersey

We’re finally taking some much-needed, long-overdo vacation time. Our last vacation time, spent packing in Mooresville, moving, and unpacking in Clearfield, certainly wasn’t restful or renewing!

We’re in Woodbury, NJ (east of Philadelphia) visiting Joleen’s aunt and uncle, Jim and Wanda, whom Ethan is meeting for the first time.

This morning, Wanda, Joleen, and I played mini golf.

On the way to the mini golf course, Ethan fell asleep. We put him in his stroller where he slept through the first several holes. After he woke, he was content to watch us play from his stroller. The all-terrain stroller came in handy today as the golf course had a lot of hills and steps. It was fun. 🙂

Tomorrow, we’re planning to drive to the eastern side of the state where Ethan will see the Atlantic Ocean and play in the sand on the beach for the first time.

Sleep Deprived

This kid sleeps at the darnedest times! He occasionally falls asleep in the car, on walks, and during his mother’s sermons on Sunday mornings.

Here, Ethan is pictured on our day off. Last Friday, we went to walk at the local Rails to Trails (abandoned railways converted to walking/biking trails.) Almost immediately, he fell asleep and slept for the whole one-hour walk!

But he almost never coordinates his naps with our naps! For instance, when I’ve tried to nap when he’s around, he’s poked at my eyes and come beside me and yelled some string of syllables (don’t worry, Daddy is around watching him when my eyes get heavy).

Ethan just needs to work on his timing a little bit! 🙂

“Thinking for a Change”

Few people have influenced and equipped me for leadership like John Maxwell — through his books, conferences, and monthly leadership audio lessons in the last 18 years.

One of the last Maxwell books I’ve read (it’s been a while since I read it) is Thinking for a Change. In the book, Maxwell discusses 11 thinking skills of great thinkers, including …

  • Big-Picture Thinking
  • Focused Thinking
  • Creative Thinking
  • Realistic Thinking
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Possibility Thinking
  • Reflective Thinking
  • Popular Thinking
  • Shared Thinking
  • Unselfish Thinking
  • Bottom-Line Thinking

The book’s premise is …

Successful people think differently than unsuccessful people.

Maxwell contends that the biggest problem for many people is their thinking. Maxwell writes …

The greatest detriment to many people’s success tomorrow is their thinking today. If their thinking is limited, so is their potential. But if people can keep growing in their thinking, they will constantly outgrow what they’re doing. And their potential will always be off the charts.

Maxwell says that good thinking is a discipline, a discipline that “can be cultivated and refined.” Maxwell continues, “The more you engage in good thinking, the more good thoughts will come to you.”

Maxwell advises readers to “find a place to think your thoughts,” a place without interruptions, where you can “ask questions about your ideas.” Maxwell also talks about the importance of exposing yourself to good thoughts and good thinkers.

Of course, developing any discipline takes work.

Ninety-five percent of achieving anything is knowing what you want and paying the price to get it.

6 Months

This is an interesting week. Because today, Tuesday, August 12, 2008 marks 6 months since we received Ethan on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 (i.e., “gothcha day”), we’re reliving and experiencing even more memories and flashbacks (of our time in Korea) than normal.

Yesterday marked 6 months since we met Ethan for the first time (see 1,000 Words and The Meeting for what our perspective back then in Korea).

Thursday will be 6 months since we arrived home on the longest Valentine’s Day ever (due to the time zone difference, we had an extra 14 hours of Valentine’s Day). See also First Hours with Ethan and Ethan is Home!.

While we will celebrate “gotcha day” every year in our home, the 6 month milestone is meaningful, too. Ethan spent 6 months in a foster home (after 2 months in the SWS hospital/home), a milestone that we have now matched!

The Progress News Article

The ProgressAn article about our family appeared on the front page of today’s edition of The Progress News.

The article is currently posted online, but it may not be available long-term. Click here to read an archived version.

The article focused on our new ministry appointments in Clearfield (at West Side and Centre Grove), as well as our recent/current experience of bringing Ethan into our lives from Korea.

The article included a link to this blog, so we welcome those of you who have stopped by. To read our previous posts, just scroll down the page (you can go back as far as you want by clicking on “previous entries” at the bottom of each page). You can also click on one or more of the “categories” in the sidebar on the right if there’s a particular topic that interests you.

Feel free to leave a comment on this post if you have a question or comment. You can read and/or post comments on this, or any, post on the blog simply by clicking on “comments” underneath the post you want to comment on.

For those following our journey of adopting Ethan, we invite you to check back on Tuesday and Wednesday for some reflection on a couple important milestones. Also, we’re hoping to add a section to the blog called “Ethan’s Adoption” (a link will appear at the top of the page) which will summarize the whole story and point to some of the more central (adoption-related) posts from the past year or so.

Thanks for stopping by. Welcome! 😎

Dunkin Donuts Grand Opening

IMG_1358On Friday (our day off), we went to the grand opening of Dunkin Donuts here in Clearfield (near the new location of The Meadows). Dunkin Donuts was very busy while we were there.

After a few bites of our flatbread sandwich, Ethan ate a good bit of a glazed donut (which may explain why his afternoon nap was delayed for a few hours!).

One of the reasons we went to Dunkin Donuts on opening day (besides trying out the new location and getting a donut on our day off) was that it brought back memories of Seoul, Korea. While we didn’t eat at Dunkin Donuts while we were there (regrettably), we did eat at Dono Studio, another donut cafe (see what we wrote about it while we were in Korea in this post, including a photo of our meal there 🙂 ). We discovered while we were in Seoul that donut shops, in general, and Dunkin Donuts, in particular, are booming in Seoul.

Routines

On the surface, this might sound contradictory to what I recently wrote about change. Often, when we think about routine, we think of monotony and things that stay the same.

But really, routines are simply habits or systems for getting things done. and to be most effective, the habits/systems/routines must change from time to time.

I like to change or tweak my routines, periodically. My recent post on task management is an example that. In order to keep growing, you must have routines, but you must also keep changing them.

I first learned about the importance of shaking things up from weight lifting. Weightlifters make their greatest gains (strength, endurance, muscle growth) when they first start out because the new routines are a shock to their bodies/muscles. However, muscles become resistant to the routine after a few short months. In order to keep growing, weightlifters must change up their routines every few months. It’s called the “confusion principle.”

Our routines have been thrown into a whirlwind in 2008 (a good whirlwind, but a whirlwind nonetheless), but we have still tried to have routines in our lives. Some of our daily, weekly, and monthly routines include …

  • Daily/weekly planning
  • Sermon prep (which I’m planning to write about in the future)
  • Regular day off (on Fridays, a change from Mondays which we’ve always done before!)
  • Tracking personal income and expenses (using spreadsheets) including a number of ministry and/or tax-related documents/spreadsheets.

But the newest routines we’ve developed this year have been related to Ethan — an evening routine that includes getting Ethan ready for bed, reading a Bible story, prayer, and taking turns each night giving him his milk in a sippy cup (formerly, formula in a bottle); whoever puts Ethan to bed, gets him dressed the next morning and prepares his breakfast, etc.

However, it’s some of our before-Ethan routines that we’re in the process of reestablishing and redeveloping. Having been a family of two for 14 years, our rhythms were fairly well set. Ethan has dramatically changed how we do life and we’re still finding our new rhythms. Adding a move to new ministries to the mix, needless to say we’re still discovering and settling into the new rhythms, including …

  • Morning TWG (“time with God”) — works best when we rise earlier than Ethan, who is an early riser himself!
  • We want to get back to practicing the weekly Wesley Fast (see my post on fasting from last year).
  • Reading — after a 4.5 year degree program, we have to redevelop our own reading habits — choosing our own reading material and reading it on our timetable. But we have plenty to choose from as can be seen in our previous post, Reading Pile; BTW, the pile has grown since that post!).
  • Exercise — before hitting crunch time with our dissertations at the beginning of the year, followed by becoming parents in February, we had an exercise routine that involved lifting weights and/or walking most days of the week; now, we try to walk as often as we can by taking Ethan in the stroller. But as we get settled into the new life, we hope to redevelop some better exercise habits.

What are your routines? Which are most helpful? Which are in need of a shakeup? 🙂