Category Archives: Family

much needed renewal from a family trip

So it’s been a while since my last post.  The summer brings with it a schedule that I sometimes have difficulty keeping up with and things like the blog get put on hold.  That, and I’ve honestly not had much to say lately.  It’s been a few weeks of hard work, planning for the fall season of ministry, struggling to find financial solutions within the church budget, and there always seems to be the theological wrestling that can at times consume my mind.

Yesterday, I returned home from a five day family trip to the Oregon coast. We rented a small beach house in Seaside and did nothing but play on the beach, walk the promenade, ride bikes, and just play as a family.  We even spent some memorable time with good friends who were staying in a beach house just 10 miles away.  Best family trip yet!

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After being home for a day I’ve had time to think about how this trip brought some much needed renewal.  By renewal, I more or less mean, re-learning.  I thought I would share some of my renewal and ask you to pray for me as I really dod desire that these thoughts evolve into action and habit. 

1. Playing hard as a family accumilates memories that are far more valuable than my hard-work earnings.

2. There’s a balance in “reflection” and “action”.  I need slow down more for reflection.

3. I’m too damn scared to fail and so my dreams will remain small.  Not enough faith in the Holy Spirit.

4. I disrespect my family by not turning off the phone and computer more often.  Need to set more boundaries.

It’s only four thoughts, but this presents me plenty of work, practice, and prayer.  I’m so thankful for the opportunity to travel with my wife and kids and will cherish the memories we made.  If you haven’t vacationed in a while, maybe its time to re-think your schedule and priorities a bit.  It’s well worth the financial investment!

Do any of my shared thoughts resonate with you?  Feel free to share…

Love and Peace.

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Hope for the arts and my personal regrets

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Did you ever play a musical instrument or sing a choir as a child or teenager?  Chances are you did.  The bigger question is, do you play that instrument or sing still today?  Chances are that you don’t.  Too many children and teens discover the desire to learn music only to give it up later in life.  That would be my story…and at age 37, I really do regret putting my saxophone away over twenty years ago. 

Today, the NY Times is running a story [Read Here] on a local school struggling to keep their arts programs alive, and how so many of their students are too poor to afford instruments or the time to commit because they have to work to help provide for their family.  I really hate reading stories like these!  It’s no wonder that America is falling so far behind the rest of the world in education!

I played the Alto Saxophone for several years and was fairly good at it.  I owned a guitar for a bit, but never took it too seriously.  Today, I wish I had kept playing the sax.  I got too busy with sports, school, and church stuff as a kid that music became more of stress for me than a joy.  Now that I’m a father to three children, I want them to have the opportunity to experience music.  I won’t have much to teach them musically, but i do have a few life-lessons to share that might help one of them pursue a musical dream.

So, is music a part of your past?  Why did you stop?  Any regrets?  Feel free to share your thoughts…

Love and Peace.

My birthday girl

We all love that Spring brings new life.  The leaves are budding and tulips are popping after a long and cold winter.  The sounds of lawnmowers in the late afternoon is always nice to hear, at least for a month or so before it becomes a nuisance.  Baseball is back and the grills are grillin’!  It’s a great time of year for sure…but it’s also a busy one for the Hamilton clan.

There’s Easter, spring break, and the barage of family birthday’s comes rushing forth!  Five birthdays from today till the first week of June!

Today, my wife turns 29!  Christalle is the love of my life and I can’t give words to how much her faithful love, support and strength means to me and our family.  She is truly a blessing from God and I’m so proud of who she is and wants to be.  She’s an awesome mother to our 3 young boys, a genuine example of Christ’s love, a dreamer, and a survivor. 

I love my birthday girl!!

Love and Peace.

much needed time away

Last week, my family made the long trek across the Cascade mountains and headed north towards Canada.  We landed at my wife’s uncle’s ranch near the town of Omak, WA.  Uncle Rick and Aunt Bonnie both retired from two very lucrative and stable careers, then immediately left the busyness of western Washington and found 40 acres to build a farmhouse and ranch on.  It was absolutely beautiful!

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We spent three days in the snowy high-plains feeding horses, riding ATV’s, sledding, playing Scrabble and just hanging out as a family.  It was much needed time away for me as my mind has been running a million miles an hour these past couple months. 

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One of the things I’ve learned these past few years about vacations, or just some time dedicated to doing different things as a family, is that they often remind me of how fun being a family is.  I always come home with a renewed and deeper appreciation for being a husband and father…my wife and three boys are more valuable to me than anything my work could ever offer me!  They are my first priority in ministry and resting with them seems a sacred thing in my life. 

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Maybe this is another reason why Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day that Sabbath was made for humanity…

Love and Peace.

when stuff on our lawns become common

I saw this picture today on one of my favorite phot0-blogs…No Caption Needed.  It tells the story of a woman being evicted from her home.  If you look at it long enough, I promise you’ll see the sadness of it!

I was reminded by the photo that our world is experiencing more than just a tighter budget…but a real economic crisis for many as they literally lose their homes. 

Look at the the dead trees in the background…hair being tossed in her face…all her belongings scattered across the front lawn for everyone to see.  It’s both sad and scary!  We can’t just assume that she made poor financial decisions. We have to realize that for many in America, the loss of a job or a major medical cost could easily lead to this kind of personal pain!

It make me wonder how well I know my neighbors…and how who might be on the brink of this kind of personal loss.

Love and Peace.

don’t go out much anymore, but still love a good food recommendation

It’s not easy going out to eat these days.  Money is always tight…I have three kids under the age of 5…one of them is a newborn, which means we have to be selective in where we eat…babysitters cost cash too…time doesn’t often allow us to go to places like Seattle or Bellevue…again, babysitters cost money too!

Having said all that; my we do however like to know where the newhot spots, or the local “classics” are so we can plan accordingly and have someplace fun and good to look forward to.  I’m not much of a Red Robin or Applebees fan. Their fun to take the kids to, but we both really enjoy seeking out establishments that are new or have maybe been around for some time that we’ve always wanted to try.

I hear Trellis in Kirkland is great.  The same with The Preservation Kitchen in Bothell.  Ever been there?  Tell me about it!  What about Seattle?  Any place new that’s worth the time and money for a date night? 

Here are some of our favorite spots for a special night out.  For what it’s worth…we believe going out is on regular date nights is extremely important to a marriage.  Sometimes it’s just coffee…other times a steak.  Doesn’t matter so much where you go, or how much it costs…just find a way to get out of the normal routines and talk.

Purple Cafe (Seattle more than Kirkland)

Azul in Mill Creek

Qdoba (cheap and good!)

Spaghetti Factory (any place that serves good “all-you-can-eat” bread is alright in my book)

El Gaucho (more of an Anniversary type place for us)

What the Pho

Noppakao Thai (Kirkland)

I’d love to hear about some of your favorite Seattle / Eastside restaurants.  Why do you like them? What’s your favorite food to order? What are the prices like?

Love and Peace.

Who was your favorite athelete?

Yesterday was a big day for true baseball fans.  Most people probably didn’t even notice what happened, but it was a great day to reflect and dialogue about some of the greatest baseball players to ever wear an MLB uniform.  It was the day when some great players were inducted into to baseball Hall of Fame.

One player in particular made me think back to some very fond memories of being a kid and falling in love with the greatest game in the world! 

Rickey Henderson entered the Hall of Fame.  He’s the greatest lead-off hitter and base stealer the game has ever seen! 

I was about 10 years old and Rickey was close to entering the prime of his career when my dad took me to a Mariners game in the old Kingdome.  We sat right on the first base line in perfect view of all that happens between a pitcher, first baseman and a base-runner.  I remember my dad purposely selecting those seats because he told me that I needed to closely watch this amazing baseball talent.

Well, my dad was right.  Rickey was amazing!  He brought life and energy to the diamond like few players could do.  When Rickey was on base…it altered the entire game!  He stole four bases that night…

Rickey Henderson wasn’t my all-time favorite player as a kid, but he certainly inspired me to play the game with passion.  It’s really hard to say who in fact is my “childhood”  favorite player.  Dale Murphy, Pete Rose, George Brett, Kirby Puckett, Fernando Valenzuela, and Don Mattingly were all such great players who each had a style and approach to baseball that helped shape my love for the game. 

When I think of the NBA…it’s Charles Barkley.  The NFL…that’s easy, Steve Largent.  But baseball?  I guess I love the game too much to be able to say which player from my childhood was my absolute favorite. 

As the Super Bowl nears, there are a lot of people who will grieve the absence of football.  Not me.  I like football very much, but I won’t miss it…because its absence means the presence of Spring Training is days away! 

I’m curious…as you look back on your childhood, who were some of the athletes you most loved watching, following, and emulating?  What was it about him or her that made inspired you?

Love and Peace.