We invented a parade

You know what an idea - combined with 6 balloons, 4 signs and 1 email - gets you these days?  A Halloween Parade!  Ashley and I were sitting around Starbucks with a few friends a few weeks ago wondering why no one has a parade on Halloween.  We decided it is the perfect time to show off your outfit, walk the neighborhood and bring community together.  Why don't we start a parade, the question was asked.  So - WE DID.

The idea originated from my friend Bob.  He started a parade years ago in San Diego (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw_x0qtedPo&list=UUs2hN5kzVkZFvai6I3VqpTw&index=12&feature=plcp) and it now is THE thing to do on New Year's Day.  It started with his family only - and now thousands come to be together.  I figured if Bob can do it so can we!

My creative and smart wife drew up 4 signs (they included a bat, a pumpkin and the essential info) and I was charged with putting them in areas that neighbors would see them.  So 2 went by the park that we were starting the parade from, and the other 2 went down in the neighborhood on some trafficy intersections.  We crossed our fingers as we sent out an email to about 12 families letting them know about our crazy idea.  People or not, we were starting a parade!

I guess the signs worked.  Over 100 people showed up!  As of 5 minutes before start time, there were 4 of us.  Needless to say - we thought our parade was going to be small and short.  However, they just kept coming.  And coming.  And smiling!  Kids were laughing, grandparents were happy and parents were excited.  It was such a great moment - the whole neighborhood, ranging from 8 weeks old to over 80 years old, came out in full force to join the parade.

We walked a few blocks, talked to as many people we could and enjoyed the fall foliage in our quaint neighborhood.  The stories evolved.  I met one neighbor who said she was longing for community within our neighborhood and was hoping someone would organize something.  She loved the parade and meeting new friends!  I met another family who had adopted a 7 year old boy who was looking for friends.  He ended up leading the parade with other kids.  It is amazing what the power of community does.  It galvanizes people and creates something that no one can take away.

I announced the crowd that this parade will be happening every year - 5pm at Fairmount Park on 10/31.  Everyone said they'd be back.  I can't wait for next year already - this could be huge!

The power of community is strong.  What can you do to fan the flame?  Does it mean inviting those neighbors you've never met over for coffee?  Does it mean starting a parade?  Does it mean starting something else?  You tell me!

Until next time, go out on a limb.  100 people might just show up.


The Invincibility of the Moment

Have you ever thought back to a moment in your life when you simply "knew something"?  It's that moment in time when things become clear, they become absolute. I refer to this moment as "invincible" because no one can take it away from you and no one can replace it.  And no one can understand what that moment means to you.  It is powerful and it is everlasting.

As most of you know by now, Ashley and I have had our baby boy Coleman Alexander Casebeer.  He's perfect.  He already has a personality and he looks like me!  The feelings that are introduced to parents at the arrival of the first child are interesting.  I think new life hits people at different times and in different ways.  For me, I had my "invincible moment" about 8 days after Coleman was born.  It didn't come immediately for whatever reason.  Don't get me wrong - I loved him from second #1 - but this moment struck me about midnight of day 8.

Coleman was sleeping on Ashley's chest and I caught her staring at him.  She didn't know I was looking.  At exactly this moment was when I know I had to lead this family.  It was absolutely invincible.  It was spirit driven and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I know right then I was the leader of this family.

Coleman is doing great.  He's growing (almost 9 lbs now), on the verge of smiling as a response and is thus far OK with Ruby licking his mouth.  She's weird like that, goes straight for the mouth.  *Side note - Ruby has eaten the following: tube of lanolin, 2 plastic syringes, 3 pairs of Mama's shoes, the Kindle charger, half of a sharpie, the coffee table and probably so many things I don't want to know about.* Anyway, Coleman is adjusting to life as a Casebeer and is doing so great.  He is a pretty good sleeper and a great pooper.  Just the beginning. . .

Back to The invincibility of the moment.  Have you had one?  I hope you do.  You'll know.  It is God tugging at your heart and pointing you in some direction.  For me it was in towards Him, bringing my family along.  Until next time, live for the moment.


My dog ate my Bible

No, seriously.  Ruby ate my Bible.  This wasn't your run of the mill Bible either.  This was a J.B. Phillips translation, aka "the cook book", which hasn't been produced in decades.  I love this translation for a number of reasons.  It's human, it's pliable, it's relatable, and it's reality.  It's also no more!

Ashley and I came home a few weeks ago to this tragic mess.  All over the house.  Pages everywhere.  Leather everywhere.  And Ruby no where to be found!  Normally this wouldn't have been so upsetting, but that Bible had years (10+) of notes, thoughts, underlinings, bullet points, etc in it.  And now it has been eaten and pooped out.  Ruby literally was fed on the word of God. She digested it.  Maybe there is a small lesson here??

Every once in a while I go on Ebay and look for this very specific Phillips Bible and buy them if they are exactly what I'm looking for.  So thankfully I have a few backups of the Phillips.  Always have them on reserve, but mainly to give away.  Not this time!

So off to Oregon Bookbinding (http://www.oregonbookbindingcompany.com/) in Silverton I go.  Nancy has helped me a number of times and does an amazing job! Check out the pictures of before and after.

Anyway I'm ready to roll again.  Ready to mark up another one.  It's exciting in a way, getting to start over.  I wonder what thoughts, bullet points and underlinings will surface over the next ten years.  Time will tell.  But I'll tell you one thing: Ruby will never find this one!

Until next time, hide your valuables.  You never know who might snatch them!


Just days away...

We are just days away from life as we know it changing.  We are days away from going from 2 to 3.  We are days away from diapers!  We are days away from stress and days away from joy.  We are days away from tears and days away from sleepless nights.  We are just days away from responsibility!  We are days away from baby seats, car seats and toys.  We are days away from cuddles and days away from walks thru the neighborhood.  We are days away from Danny, Patti and Jamie becoming Papa, Pat Pat and James James.  We are days away from bottles (milk for baby and wine for us?).  We are days away from looking at each other and asking, "What should we do?"  We are days away from being Ashley and Alex to Mom and Dad. 

We are days away from meeting our baby boy and couldn't be more excited!

Until next time, enjoy what you've got...because you might be days away from something new!


Are you a connector?

The idea of being a connector has been on my mind and heart recently.  I love that word, connector.  It's an action word, it moves.  A connector is something or someone who links two things together.  It's also intentional, another reason why I like it.  As I said, I've been reflecting on this lately and have realized that I have been blessed as being a good connector.  I love linking two people up together and I love staying connected to people.  Over the years I have had great experiences and memories with people by just staying in touch, or staying connected.  And I've had people have profound impacts on my life after years of being connected.  So I ask you: are you a connector?

A few years back I met a guy named Tim.  Tim and I spent one weekend together as a part of a men's retreat.  He and I talked a lot about commitment and what that meant.  At the time, I was trying to figure out whether to move to North Carolina to chase my girlfriend around.  Tim suggested I commit.  So I did and 4 years or so later she and I are expecting our 1st baby.  We fast forward a few years and Ashley and I decide to move to Portland.  I let Tim know I'd be moving out (stayed connected!).  By staying connected, we ended up at Tim's house having dinner once a week, getting to know his immediate family and even living with some of his other family members (for free!).  Staying connected was HUGE. 

Another friend of mine Eric stays connected with me.  Out of the blue he'll send me a book, or a note, and it always seems to come at just the right time. It also makes me feel cared for and valued as a friend.  So by his staying connected with me, our friendship carries on and I am blessed by it.  Read more about him at ericscofield.wordpress.com  .

Staying connected is huge.  The Bible even talks about it in Hebrews 10:25 - "...let us consider how we may spur one another one in love and good deeds, and not give up meeting together..." .   In fact, Jesus tells us that if two or more of us meet together, God will join us (Matthew 18:20)!  It's just one more way of staying connector to our Creator - and each other.

You see, being a connector not only is good for you, it's good for them.  I love being a connector.  I love getting people involved with one another and staying involved with people.  It has an immense pay off!  So again I ask (and challenge) you: are you a connector? 

Until next time, call someone you haven't in a while and re-connect.  I dare you!