Our 2018 “Christmas” Letter

We’re lame.

One of the most eventful and travel-packed years for the Googers and we do not get a Christmas card or Christmas letter out. That’s what happens when you move, change jobs, live with your (Hans’) sister and her family for five months, renovate a house, run into problems renovating said house, move into that house, continue running into problems, and likely have more things to address. The Christmas card got cut for time and budget reasons. There was a moment—we had it lined up—where we were going to get pictures and get the party started, but the weather was bad that day and we never rescheduled because that is how 2018 has been.

Here’s your Christmas/New Year’s blog post:

Where to start? Well, our new house has gutters now. That’s nice. It needed gutters; but you probably didn’t come for the gutters or updates on them. You are probably curious about the family. We have updates on them, too.

First, the travels. From May until July we traveled to Kentucky (Hans is a Dr. now, but not the kind people really care about), to Texas, to Tennessee, to Virgina, to Washington DC, to Georgia, and back. Then we sold the house and moved to Texas. Hans got a job as a pastor at a church in Spring—Genesis Community Church—thus the move. From July until early December we lived with Hans’ sister and her family as we got adjusted—we pray they have recovered (in fact, they were awesome). Then, in December we got into our house.

All the kids are in the same elementary school, which sits at the front of the neighborhood. Ethan’s favorite things: recess is longer, no uniforms, and he can play basketball at said recess. Asher? Same. Abram? That his music teacher puts chapstick on his hand and calls it a “smelly.” Abram now will not leave the house without a big Ziploc bag full of chapstick. “My lips will never be chapped,” he says.

Both to give us something to do in a new city and give the kids other kids to meet (not to mention they both wanted to), Ethan and Asher played baseball for the first time. What did we learn? It rains a lot in Texas in the fall. Basically half the games got rained out and/or rescheduled. (By the way, who in the WORLD schedules 8pm Little League games on school nights? Crazy people.) Another thing we learned? Baseball is a sport with a HIGH entry cost—gray pants (but not too gray), navy socks, black socks, a belt, a helmet, a bat, a bat bag, a glove, etc. One time we couldn’t find Ethan’s glove so Hans ran to Academy to get ANOTHER glove. Shortly thereafter we found the missing glove in the bushes.

The new house has a double oven so Courtney makes twice the cookies. The old house had a double oven, too, but we didn’t tell you last year so we can now make that tidbit sound like new news. She’s also really loving the new king-sized bed because she can say “goodnight” to Hans and then not see him again for eight hours (more like five hours with how late she stays up).

In other news, Hans was pulled over for a traffic violation for the first time in his life this year. The speed limit on the main boulevard in the neighborhood? TWENTY. Fewer things are worse in the world of transportation than a posted speed limit of twenty in a place that is not a school zone. Luckily, Hans got a warning from the officer and the ability to tell the kids that he, too, gets pulled over. (“What does ‘pulled over’ mean?” asked Abram.)

A lot happened this year. Much more than the letter contains, but not much more that you’ll be interested in. The synopsis: we’re alive, baseball is expensive, chapstick is cheap, we live in Texas, and God is good.

We hope to be back in card and letter form in 2019. Until then, here’s a picture of us from the first night in the house:

Running Roads, Seeing Sights, and Moving

For the past 40 days, the family and I have been on the road more often than we have not. My last day at The Chapel was May 31 (the family and I were so blessed by the send-off) and June 1 we hit the road. Today, July 10, we are finally settled into my sister’s house with most of our stuff in storage.

This whirlwind of a tour has brought us from Baton Rouge to Tomball (TX) to Bellville (still in TX, with an excellent meat market) to San Antonio (tourists!) back to Tomball back to Baton Rouge to Tyler (for Pine Cove) to Knoxville to Arlington (VA) to DC (you have to see the White House) to Cumming (in GA—Hey, Michael and Erica!) back to Baton Rouge to Spring (TX—storage unit) back to Baton Rouge and now finally back in Texas (with my sister). We tallied about 5,000 miles of driving (300 of them in a U-Haul) in 40 days. The memories created have been great, but I’m glad to be done driving.

Spring, TX will be our spot for the foreseeable future. I’ll write more in the coming days/weeks, but I’ll soon be starting as the pastor of preaching at Genesis Community Church. I’ll join staff in August and then assume preaching roles in the fall.

We’re looking forward to being here and to getting started, and we are grateful for the support of all who have kept up with us over the years.

On a Hope and a Prayer, in a Van

Dale (my brother) and I were talking about the podcast. He’s been busy with work things and I’ve been busy with finding work things, so we haven’t been podcasting regularly. The Houston Rockets have also been in the playoffs and I’ll watch them instead of podcasting (priorities, you know?).

Well, Dale and I were trying to record an episode and I thought, “Well, I could talk about family life in the midst of transition. I’m there right now.” He thought that was a good idea—but then he decided to make it much, much better by not making it about that idea at all.

Continue reading “On a Hope and a Prayer, in a Van”

The Benefits of Synced up Family Bible Reading

If you’ve read the blog before then you know that I write about my attempts at family worship. We sing, we read Bible stories, we act out Bible stories, we make up catechism songs, and probably other things. As the kids grow (and Courtney and I age) we change our tactics, so I thought about an update.

In 2018 we are trying something new (to us). With a little help from Replicate Ministries, the family and I have attacked a modified Bible reading plan that puts me, Courtney, and the older two boys reading the same passages and memorizing the same verses. This is a first for us, but it has (one month in to 2018) been incredibly beneficial. Allow me to explain the structure and the benefits: Continue reading “The Benefits of Synced up Family Bible Reading”

Podcast Episode 04—Family Devos

Last week Dale and I spent some time recording this podcast around how we try and lead our families in the hilarity of family devotionals. Two young dads making fools of ourselves and creating memories for our children that we are unsure they will look back on fondly or suppress. As of right now, I think I’d choose suppress. 🙂

If you are counting then you realize that I didn’t post Episode 03. That one is right here, where we tried to talk about religious liberty and modest bathing suits (Burkinis, specifically).

Family Worship From the Peanut Gallery 2.0

Over two years ago I pulled back the curtain on how our family did “family worship” (that whole idea of praying, Bible reading, etc. with your family). It wasn’t magical. In fact, there is no curtain at all. I still think in some people’s minds the idea resembles something from The Saturday Evening Post (though I think the enthusiasm might be similar to the picture below). But that is so far from reality for any family I know.

Two years ago was a long time ago in the life of a young family. Everyone is . . . older. Kids are developing differently. Everyone is in some type of school (even dad [mom is in the school of hard knocks]). We are learning to read, learning to think differently, and learning to serve others better.

With that in mind, here is the updated (though I wouldn’t say “new and improved”) way we are talking about Jesus together as a family.  Continue reading “Family Worship From the Peanut Gallery 2.0”