Sunday, March 30, 2014


Another rite of manhood, or is it puberty?, has begun for Andrew - braces. He got the first part of them put on. Unfortunately, he needs to get a couple of teeth pulled because his mouth is so crowded. Then he'll get the rest of them put on. Poor guy. I remember those days.
Here's the before picture. Can you see the fear and angst in his eyes?! Or is that just the sun?
That wasn't so bad, was it?
Andrew has a real nice mom, taking him out to In-N-Out to ease the pain. By the way, it's official - Andrew is now taller than his mom. Sandy is NOT happy about that.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

2013 In Review

What a year! God brought about some sudden and drastic changes in 2013. As I re-read my post for reviewing 2012 and looking forward to 2013, all I can think is that my life has turned upside down since then. Wow. After a decade of purposeful preparation, I was preparing for God's good fruit in my new ministry. I wasn't sure how it would look or what would happen, but I was excited about proclaiming His magnificent greatness from the pulpit, being a part of His disciple making program and shepherding His sheep. Little did I know, that God's plans were to take that ministry away.

That is clearly the big event of 2013. I haven't really processed it still. God in His kind and good sovereignty has supplied our every need financially, emotionally, spiritually and relationally. In fact, in every way possible, I think we are better off somehow than where we were. But with all the chaos, we cancelled the Lee Family Retreat this year. Only the second time in the last 16 years. So I need to really spend some time in reflection and retrospection to try and make sense of this all, hopefully soon.

I think the second major thing of 2013 is that we used all of the challenges to grow closer together as a family. With all of my time off, I think we redeemed the time well with trips to SoCal (twice), White Sands, camping in the mountains, Carlsbad Caverns, Roswell, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Mount Rushmore and Seattle. We had so much fun together visiting good friends and family.

As I try and look towards what 2014 has in store, for the first time in a long time, I have no idea what to plan for. No clue. No real goals other than to try and find some healing this year. The scars are still deep. But God will be faithful as He has proved again in 2013 and countless times before.

I don't think I met any of my goals for 2013. But for posterity, here's what we accomplished in 2013:

Andrew's 2013 Memory Verses
  • 1 John 2:15-16
  • 1 Thessalonian 4:3-5
  • 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
  • 2 Timothy 2:22
  • Romans 12:3
  • 1 Peter 5:5-6
  • Proverbs 22:24
 Matt & Emery's 2013 verses
  • Romans 8:28
  • Romans 8:1
  • Galatians 2:20
  • 2 Corinthins 5:21
  • Psalm 1
2013 Books Read

#28 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
#27 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
#26 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
#25 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
#24 - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
#23 - The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
#22 - Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn't and Why by Donald Asher
#21 - The Big Retirement Risk by Erin Botsworth
#20 - What The Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
#19 - The Battle of Mogadishu: First Hand Accounts From the Men of Task Force Ranger
#18 - Joker One: A Marine's Story of Courage, Leadership and Brotherhood by Donovan Campbell
#17 - Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior by Rorke Denver
#16 - A Shelter in the Time of Storm
#15 - Washing: A Life by Ron Chernow
#14 - Spiritual Depression by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones
#13 - Fearless by Eric Blehm
#12 - When War Becomes Personal Ed. by Donald Anderson
#11 - The Legacy of William Carey by Vishal & Ruth Mangalwadi
#10 - The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
#9 - God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew
#8 - Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchvidjian
#7 - Dominion by Randy Alcorn
#6 - Shadow of the Almighty by Elizabeth Elliot
#5 - Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
#4 - D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones the First 40 Years by Murray
#3 - Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler
#2 - Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
#1 - American Sniper by Chris Kyle

Monday, March 17, 2014

Emery 2013

Surprisingly, 2013 was a GREAT year for Emery. It started out kinda rough for Emery with some relational difficulties at school. But the combination of bringing her home for school, working on reminding her of the greatness of God and His omnipresence in her life as well as a change of scenery in CA, all contributed to some wonderful growth in her life. I am very proud of Emery.
Up to this point, Emery has always struggled with relationships. But she has always gotten along with her cousins. This year, we got to spend a lot more time with cousins that she normally doesn't see that often.
I think she thrived with all of these female relationships that she doesn't normally have with the boys here at home.
She seemed to especially enjoy being the "big sister" at times which was a first this year.
At the same time, she continued her good relationship with Matt as they played restaurant and all sorts of other things together.
While she and Andrew still have their moments, they have made a lot of progress and get along much better this year.
We have discovered that gymnastics is a passion for Emz. It's been cool as a parent to see her dedicate herself to something so early. We'll see if it lasts, but she's having fun while she applies herself to it.
For the first time, Emery got to be a flower girl. This was a representative moment in her life. She has always struggled with fear. And at this wedding, she was very afraid of being the center of attention and walking down the aisle just as she has been afraid of being by herself and sleeping at night. We have diligently worked to help her turn to the sovereign, omnipotent, loving and good Shepherd of her soul during all these moments and seek to glorify Him by her trust and obedience. I think it will always be a life long struggle, but Emery has made huge strides this year in this area by His grace.
Emery has really started to read well this year, loved Sofia the First and Star Wars, started piano lessons and roller skating. She has also shown herself to be very responsible in taking care of our pets. She has shown a lot of maturity for a 7 year-old.
She's still got a sweet tooth and has a sweet spot in mom's heart.
And she'll always be my little girl. Love you Emz.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Matt 2013

 I'm not sure how this happened, but 2014 is almost 1/4 done, and I still haven't done my recap for Matt's 2013. Time keeps flying by. But I think 2013 was another good year for Matt.

In some ways it seems like Matt really grew up while in others, he's the same little Matt that he was when he was 2!
He definitely has started acting "cool" and loves to wear his shades.
He still has his love / fear thing with animals. It really showed up when we had Gabe for that few weeks. Even though Matt wants to play with animals, they can sense the fear in him.
He's still quick and fast but has got his balance issues. He acts like such a little kid still skipping around all the time, avoiding stepping on lines or cracks on the sidewalk and racing to the nearest mailbox.
He still loves his big bro.
And pals around with his dad.

He can be a quirky little dude. He started piano this year. He's shown some real aptitude with spelling and math. And he's grown as a hard worker too, taking on the daily job of loading the dishwasher.
Thankfully for mom, he still loves to cuddle with her.
And he's still buds with Emz. Matt's got a real gift of being able to get along with everyone. He gets along well with everyone in our family. He makes friends in school. He makes friends at church. He's just a likeable guy. Praise God for that gift!
We thank God for the gift He has given us in Matt. Love you bud.