Dan Writes: Starting Over

Dan Writes

 

Abe took that picture. I think it’s sweet to see what Daniel looks like from his little perspective. It’s also a picture that I think captures my husband perfectly. This post is the first of many, as Daniel will be sharing with us his thoughts from time to time on life, love, science, God and being a man. 


 

Last week, Megan asked me if I’d guest-post for her. Obviously, I agreed to do it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. When she presented the idea to me, I figured it would be easy to write a few hundred words about something, but when I started thinking about what to say, I drew a blank. I’ve drawn a blank everyday since she asked. It’s funny because I used to have my own blog on which I would post almost daily. I had a lot to say at that time in my life, and I wanted people (ahem… one person… a girl) to see it. I was an early-20s knucklehead fresh out of a relationship, and I wanted people (one girl) to know how good I was doing at being a grown-up. That was an interesting time in my life. I wanted to be noticed and appreciated. I figured if I could type out the things I wanted to say in a well-articulated and interesting way, and get people to read them, I could feel better about myself. My writings were dripping with arrogance and ignorance. I tried to disguise that fact by packing my posts with, what I believed at the time to be, this insightful wisdom that clearly no one had ever heard or read before. You could say my whole blog was like one giant humble-brag. I was posing as some great theologian of whom no one (that girl) had ever heard. It worked in making me feel important for a while, I guess, and eventually I ended up abandoning it because it had served its purpose. I look back at that time, and I don’t really like who I was. I appreciate that time because I made some valuable friendships and learned a lot of what not to do, but I am definitely not fond of the person that was writing that stuff. I guess a better way of putting it, is that I’m embarrassed by that person. So, when Megan asked me to write something for her, I obliged, but when I started brainstorming on what to write, my mind was flooded with thoughts of those days. Obviously, I don’t want to be young, dumb, early-20s Dan again. I have a lot of things I could talk about, I suppose, but I like personal interactions. I like conversations. Those are things I’ve grown to value deeply. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t share some thoughts with you folks from time to time. It just means that when I do, I’m doing it with a different purpose than I once did.

It’s funny, I used to end all of my posts with “I love you”. In the days of Myspace blog posts, I read something on an acquaintance’s profile one time where he ended a post with that. I liked it, so I started doing it. That was the one thing in those old posts of mine that wasn’t really aimed directly at “the girl”. It was in a sense but not in the sense of me hoping she would read something I wrote, get to the end, see those words, and think “Oh my God, I love you, too. Let’s get back together.” I wanted people to think, “Man, this guy, like, really loves people. Like, he’s genuinely concerned for peoples hearts and souls.” And I wanted “the girl” to think, “Man he’s so awesome at loving people. Why did I ever let him go?” It was completely fueled by a selfish desire to be accepted. I didn’t truly love people. I just wanted them to think I did. I figured it was in my best interest if people thought I was some wise, kind-hearted soul, whether or not I actually was.

Now, things are different. I’m different. And I can say with great confidence that the reason I’ve changed is not simply because my circumstances are different. No, I found out very quickly after I married Megan that young, dumb, early-20s Dan had simply turned into young, dumb, mid-20s Dan. There have been plenty of I-don’t-want-to-do-this-anymore times for both of us in the past 5 years, but God has been patient and gracious with us. The more I’ve grown in submission to the Creator of the universe and surrendered my life more and more to the Gospel, the more I can look back on old Dan and not be as embarrassed. I can see it was just a silly part of my story, and I can be confident in the fact that I’m not writing this for any personal gain. I can honestly say that I’m doing it because my wife asked me to, and I love her… and I love you.

Middle School Megan On: The Disposable Camera

The Disposable CameraAround 5th grade is when I started taking interest in capturing the funny/what I thought was important moments of my life, and that year I got a poloroid camera. I seriously thought I was the coolest person on the planet when I used that thing, but man, film for it was expensive. Once I got into middle school, I discovered the disposable camera.

The Disposable CameraThis amazing, one-time-use tool was A MUST for any special events at school, and ESPECIALLY youth group trips and parties. It was very important to me that I made sure I had all of the best moments captured on film to look over once the trip was done. Here’s a few things I noticed about the disposable camera:

1) You had to have at least one per trip. Two was preferable, and sometimes I’d get to take two with me if there was some kind of sale at Walgreens.

2) Boys never had them. They just didn’t care at all about memories, apparently (or maybe they were more concerned with actually living the moments instead of worrying about capturing them on film, haha).

3) It was a REALLY BIG DEAL to make sure the next time you showed up at youth group, you had your pictures on hand to show everyone.

I remember coming home from the last day of school, fuge or the canoe trip (there will be posts for those, don’t worry) and the first thing I’d ask my mom was if we could go to Walgreens and drop off my disposables for the one-hour development. IF she wanted to take me right away, we usually didn’t get the one-hour photo option because it was a little more expensive. The anticipation was almost too much to bare, as I waited to see the images I shot of me and my best friends, the gross cabin we stayed in and my crush who wasn’t paying attention. I remember one year not getting my camp pictures in time for the next youth group gathering, and feeling like such a failure.

What even is middle school life?!

When I told Daniel that boys almost never had them on trips, he said that he definitely used them. However, he was too busy snapping pictures of landscapes and monuments that he forgot to get pictures of actual people. So, as an adult, he’s left with bad quality pictures of landmarks instead of himself and his friends. #DisposableCameraFAIL

In looking through some old pictures from my middle school years, I realized that my style for pictures back then is similar to my style now. I’ve always loved to capture shots of the people I care about in the middle of whatever they are doing or saying. Of course, I had plenty of posed shots with me and my friends. But, I was definitely that girl that walked around and saw a funny moment and made sure to snap a picture of it before anyone noticed. I guess that’s the people-watcher in me.

The Disposable CameraI’m fairly certain that’s a middle finger in the corner. Thanks Greg. Or Craig, whatever your name was.
This was at C-Fuge in Ridgecrest, North Carolina.  The quality of a disposable camera picture was definitely sub-par, especially at night. But in middle school, you just do not care.
Ok… I had a crush on this kid so hard. Like, obsessively hard. His name was Jason something, and somehow my friends and I orchestrated it so that I could sit next to him on the way to camp that year. We never spoke, but my friend Tiffany took this picture.
This was probably from my first canoe trip. Robert Miller was one of the few high schoolers that was always really nice to me. The abundance of pictures I have with my finger in the way is amusing.
I’m pretty sure this was taken after we had won a scavenger hunt around town. Braces and a middle part- the components of a middle school girl in the late 90’s.
This was Riding Shotgun, our youth group band. I wanted to be Genie SO BAD.Erica Demers, the one in the back… she was the meanest. Erica, if you’re reading… I forgive you, haha. Look at all of that spiky, gelled hair. I can’t remember what this class was called, but we put on the morning announcements every day. Look at that Space Jam poster, you guys!

Little Yessi, and her disposable camera!

 

Abe’s Life: Learning the Ollie

Learning the OllieLook at that teenager up there.

With Abe, we noticed at a very young age that our kid had the athletic streak in him. Being parents who are really into music and art, we of course secretly hoped our son would come out and be one of those 3 year olds that can play the drums, hence the two drum sets our son has had. But alas- he doesn’t really care at all about music, and shows a great amount of enthusiasm towards anything that requires strenuous physical activity. We’ve promised to each other that even if we aren’t necessarily passionate about what our kids end up being passionate about, we’d encourage and support them through it. It’s really incredible to watch a baby grow into a tiny human that has abilities and smarts, whatever they may be. I’m fascinated when we get to be around other children and I watch how they all excel in different things. My hope is that as Abe grows up with his friends, they learn to lift each other up and celebrate their different abilities. I think it starts with us adults modeling that by encouraging each other. 

Abe’s been messing around on a skateboard since he was about 2, maybe a little before. I can’t quite remember how it started- I think someone brought over a skateboard to our house. However or wherever he saw it for the first time, he wanted to do it. I bought him this tiny skateboard from a lady in town for 5 bucks that had butterflies and peace signs on the back. He didn’t care and neither did I; he just wanted something to skate on. He quickly progressed and grew out of that tiny one, so we bought him the next size up, and he also got one from his uncle Shawn and Grandma. We could tell that he was starting to get bored, as toy skateboards aren’t really meant for actual tricks and skating, but for learning and playing around on. So this past Christmas, we bought him a somewhat legit, regular sized skateboard with Ninja Turtles on it (of course). 

For the past 6 months or so, he’s been trying to figure out the ollie. We’ve observed that he gets really pissed and impatient if he doesn’t get something fast, and wants to give up easily. Oh, how the pride hates to fail. Daniel and I have both been that way as well, and there are things we’ve given up on that we wish we hadn’t. So, even though mastering an ollie on a skateboard is something that I could care less about personally, we are trying to encourage and push him to figure it out and accomplish it, no matter how long it takes. You know what is required of us to keep doing that? Patience, friends. LOTS AND LOTS of patience, which we are learning to have.

Learning to OllieWe’ve showed him several youtube tutorials on how to learn the ollie, and thankfully Daniel knows how to do one enough to show him in real life. I had no idea my husband could do a skateboard trick until we had a little boy. If I tried this I think I’d end up breaking both of my feet clean off.

Learning to ollie

Learning to ollieI know it looks like he got it here. The one thing that keeps tripping him up is getting the board off of the ground.

Learning to ollieAs you can see, he’s not a fan of falling. He used to get SO upset when he fell off of anything. I think it was my Pastor, Dale, who told me to celebrate the next time he failed at something to show him that it really is ok. He fell off his bike shortly after that conversation took place and I cheered and told him that it was an awesome fall, and he actually started to laugh. Since then, he’s been a little better about falling and doesn’t throw a tantrum.

He still gives the stink eye though.

Learning to ollieWe’ll make sure to keep you updated when he gets it!