Friday, October 29, 2010

Living a Bigger Life

One of my greatest fears in life is the fear of living a small life. For the past few years I’ve been trying to figure out what kinds of thoughts, habits, ideas and practices lead to living a small life compared to the thoughts, habits, ideas and practices that would actually lead to a big life.I spend a great deal of time thinking about this, reading about this, and observing the habits of those whom I think are living big lives.

Here are a couple of things that I have observed and learned about what makes for a big life…

1. Be generous with your money
People who live big lives are generous. They are generous with their time, their energy and their money. We live in a time when money is everything. It is rare these days to find people who are willing to part with their precious dough. It’s interesting though at how fascinated and inspired we are when we hear stories of people who are willing to give away their hard earned money. People who are able to give away the most precious commodity known to man are people who are not owned by money, but instead own it and make it serve them.

2. Regularly do things that aren’t for your own benefit
Most people live their lives completely for themselves. It is a rare thing for people to get outside of themselves and do things for others that will in no way, shape or form benefit them. Sadly, when we live only for ourselves, it leads to a very small life. Conversely, when we begin to regularly serve people and do things that aren’t for our own benefit - our lives become increasingly bigger.

3. Have ambition
People who live bigger lives want something. They have dreams. They have goals. Of course, these dreams and goals usually don’t revolve around themselves. If one’s dream or ambition is to get that car they’ve always wanted or to get that bigger home, well, let’s face it….that makes for a small life. Our goals for the end of our year can’t simply be all about having a better body, better health and reading ‘x’ amount of books. There is nothing wrong with these goals, but there has to be more. Our big life dreams and ambitions must be outside of ourselves and for the sake of others.

4. Be You
Many times, we don’t even realize that we are each created uniquely and the most amazing thing that we have to offer humanity and our planet is our self. People who take time to figure out who they are, what they love and what they have to offer have the potential to live some of the biggest lives. Figure out who you are and be that person (unless that person is not generous with their money, rarely does things that benefits others and has no ambition. If that’s the case, then figure out who you are and don’t be that person. Instead, work on becoming the kind of person that lives a big life.)

5. Learn to love
People who live big, love big. Learn what it really is to love people. Learn to love life. Learn to love moments and to love seasons. Don’t be a complainer or a pessimist. See the good in people. Don’t look for problems, but instead look for opportunities in how to live and love bigger.

What about you? What do you think makes for a bigger life?

What kinds of things have the potential to keep one stuck living a small life?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bringing Zoe Home

Over that past few weeks, I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on the way I approach life and people. I have always been a fairly private person, which I believe is okay to a point. Lately, however, I have had some things in my heart that I find myself not sharing or celebrating with others the way I want to and should be. It’s an interesting thing that is happening to me and it is part of my own personal journey of learning more about myself and continuing to become more like the me that God created me to be. That is, one who lives from his heart and not so much from his head.

Along the way, through our adoption process, (Kristy and I are currently adopting a baby girl – Zoe – from Ethiopia) I have not really expressed my heart for our adoption. So, today, I’d like to share what is and has been going on in my heart over the past few months and years.

Adoption is actually something that Kris and I started discussing at the time of our engagement. At that time, 8 years ago, we both had a heart to possibly one day adopt. For me personally though, it is something that I have had on my heart for most of my adult life. Honestly, I can't explain why except that I always felt blessed growing up, especially in high school, because I had such great parents and a great home life. Growing up, many of my friends did not have this same experience and I can remember thinking that if I could ever give another child who didn't have a family - a family, then I would.

Obviously, Kris and I both desire a large family (we currently have 4 boys) and when we (she) decided that we (she) were/was probably done having biological children, we (we) both still sensed that we weren't actually done 'having' children. I think that God gives us the grace to do the things he asks us to do. I don't think God asks everyone to adopt or have a big family, but I do sense that it is something that he has called us to do.

We chose Ethiopia because we both have a heart for Africa. It is hard to explain heart stuff, but if you’ve ever experienced ‘heart stuff’ then you know what that's like. Throughout our research, we came to realize that there are only a handful of African countries that currently participate in international adoption. We also learned that Ethiopia had become a major player in international adoptions and there were many U.S. adoption agencies working with Ethiopia. At the same time, Ethiopia is one of the few African countries that has infants that may be adopted. There are over 5 million orphans in Ethiopia and most of these are due to poverty.

One of, if not, the biggest hurdle that was standing in our way of actually pulling the trigger and deciding to fully jump in was money. An Ethiopian adoption cost between $25,000 and $28,000. Once we knew that this was God though, we committed to simply figuring it out. We had about $8,000 saved up in our emergency fund, so we knew we could start with that. Then I thought about jumping into my 401k. After more consideration, I decided that we would not jump into the 401k, but instead would pray and ask God to provide the money. Because we wholeheartedly felt God's leading in this endeavor, we believed that he would either provide the money by people giving towards bringing Zoe home or by us borrowing against the equity in our home. (Which is different than going creating new debt.) We determined that we were good with either way he decided to work it out or both ways.

To date we are $12,200 into the adoption. Awesomely enough (perhaps you have not heard the word awesomely used in a sentence before, but let’s face it….it really works here), God has already provided 1/3 of the money from the gifts of beautiful people around us who have simply desired to give financially towards Zoe coming home.

This journey (we are now officially 4 1/2 months into it) has been a lot of fun and pretty stress free so far. Most families take a minimum of 6 months to complete their dossier, but we have been cruising along (Kris is a stud) and we completed our dossier last weekend. As of this writing, our dossier is now in Virginia at our adoption agency, America World and will be sent to Ethiopia on Friday. Once our dossier is in Ethiopia, we will be put in line for receiving our little girl. From the time we are put in line, it should take between 7 and 12 months to bring Zoe home.

Things have been interesting around our home. We are regularly talking to the boys about their baby sister, Zoe. They are incredibly excited about having a brown sister and they love telling people that they’re getting a brown baby from Africa. (These are the words they have chosen on their own.) At the same time, Kristy is incredibly anxious to get started on Zoe's room and it's pretty cool for me too, because we've never had little girl stuff.

One thing that I have realized throughout this journey is that there are a lot of people who simply don't understand why we are adopting. I think this is in part because there is not much adopting going on around N.O. and secondly, because I have not done a good job of expressing myself. Some have thought that we just want another child. Others have thought we just want a girl. The truth is - we don't need any more kids (if you ever visit during dinner time, you’ll understand). Nor we don't need a girl. For us, these things are wonderful, but at the heart of the matter, our desire is to give a child who has everything stacked against them - a chance to live. I know that 1 in 5,000,000 doesn't seem like a lot, but it will mean a lot to that one, so we're starting there.

I write these things here and I invite you into this journey along with Kristy and me because, at the end of the day, I believe that we all play a part in this adoption. I honestly believe that anyone who prays for us and prays for Zoe, anyone who prays for the workers at the orphanage, anyone who gives money towards bringing Zoe home, anyone who educates themselves or asks questions, is playing a part in providing this child with a family and forever changing her life. To all of you, who have already played such an integral part, through your prayers and thoughts – THANK YOU!

I’d like to invite you over to our adoption blog also to check out Kristy’s heart for this adoption. You can check out her blog: Life and Heart Change here. (Warning: you might need Kleenex).

For those who are interested in keeping up with Zoe’s journey home, Kristy updates our adoption blog fairly regularly and you can reach that blog here.

If you have any questions about our adoption journey, please ask!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Love Always Wins

It was a crisp, warm, sunny morning in New Orleans, Louisiana. The events of that day are forever branded in our minds and the images of that fateful day will be recalled in our memories every year on September 11 until the day that we depart. The whirlwind of emotions that we felt on that day and even today, looking back are just that….a whirlwind. Depression. Anger. Bitter sorrow. Fear. Feelings of superiority, pride, humility. If you are anything like me, you probably experienced all of these emotions, feelings and more.

I have often wondered, what God was thinking and feeling on that awful day in history. For a short time, I thought for sure that God was angry that someone would attack his homeland. That people who didn’t even believe in him would destroy his chosen people. I thought that God would surely execute judgment on those who hurt him, on those who hurt his people. And I believed that the instrument that he would choose to bring about justice would be the ones who were attacked. I believed that he would want us to find those who were responsible track them down and destroy them. I would not have said any of these things with my mouth, but I believe my thoughts and actions said them loud and clear.

Today, as I sit and reflect upon that day, my life and the Creator God, I am embarrassed and humbled.

I am embarrassed because over these past few years, I have begun to realize how much I did not know this God that I had committed to following with my life. I was following a god who was confused. I was following a god who was a contradiction. I was following a god who I thought was on my side because I live in America. It turned out that I was actually following a god who hated the same people that I hated. A god who had murder and revenge in his heart, just like I did – which in turn was also what the men who flew the planes into the towers had in their hearts. I was following a god who was full of wrath and anger, disappointment and hate.

Nine years later, I am humbled and happy to say that I do not follow that god anymore. For the last 9 years, I have been on a journey towards the God of the Bible and his son, Jesus. The more I come to know this God, the more I am convinced of what he was doing on the 11th day of September in 2001. Some might say that it is naïve to know what God was doing on that day, but in the New Testament, Jesus says that those who have seen him, have seen God. So, all I really have to do, is look to Jesus to get an idea.

And when I look at Jesus, I see love.

One of my favorite authors writes, “The Kingdom of God always looks like Jesus dying on the cross for the ones who were nailing him to it.” On the day of the crucifixion, as Jesus hung suspended between heaven and earth, he cried out to his father, God and asked him to forgive the men who were torturing and killing him. Have you ever wondered if God did forgive them? I believe the more we know Jesus, the more convinced we will be that indeed, in that moment, God did extend forgiveness.

Jesus never fought violence with violence. He told Peter to put down his sword when the armed guards came to arrest him in the garden and Jesus willingly handed over his life and laid down his rights, power and will and allowed evil, violent men to execute him. And then, he took upon himself all of the evil and injustice of the world, took their best shot – death – and in the most unbelievable act in the history of forever, he snickered in the face of his enemy, in the face of violence in the face of injustice and said, “Is that all you’ve got?” and he came back from the dead.

It is because he came back from the dead that we can now be filled with his life. It is because he came back from the dead that we are set free from fighting violence with more violence – which only continues the vicious cycle – and we can be people of love and forgiveness, mercy and peace.

On the day that those planes were headed for those towers, I believe that Jesus was praying. I believe that he was praying for those on the airplanes who were filled with terror. I believe he was praying for those in the towers who had no idea what was coming. I believe he was praying for families and loved ones. I believe he was praying for those misguided men who were guiding their missiles towards the towers. I believe he was praying for you and me.

I wish Jesus would have stopped those attacks on that day. I don’t know why he didn’t. I wish he had.

But since he didn’t, that means he watched it unfold just as I did and I have to believe that he wept bitterly as he watched it, just as I did.

As I orient my life around this Jesus, today is a day that I remember and I pray. I remember those lost and the loved ones they left behind. I pray for those who lost so much on that day.

I also pray for love and peace and more people who will turn towards these things. As I wrote earlier, fighting violence with violence only leads to more violence. But Jesus taught us a way to fight violence that ultimately brings about heart and life change. To fight violence with love is no easy task, but it is the way of Jesus and he has already proven that it works and in the end – love always wins.

Today – may love rule in your family, your relationships, your life and in your heart.

More 9/11 Reflections:

Remember 9/11 - Chad Estes

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guns and Pipes and Other Things Nice

As I was reading through some of my previous blogs and some of my not yet posted writings the other night, I realized that for any who read this blog and don’t actually know me outside of the blogosphere, you might be left to think that my only interests are thinking deeply and my kids.

Alas, there is more to me…

So, here are a couple of things that you might, but probably don’t know about me, my interest and my life...


I have always had a fascination with guns. I remember getting my first bb gun as a kid; a Daisy multi-pump pneumatic air rifle. I would go into the backyard each day, set up an opposing army of aluminum cans in the trees and club house, man my post behind the gas grill and take them out one by one. My fascination with guns has not seized and to this day I love going to the range and lighting up some paper. I usually shoot handguns, but also enjoy shooting rifles. My holey targets serve as trophies in my garage and my favorite trophy is a quarter that I blew a hole in from 100 yards away with a .308 rifle.

Pipe Smoking

I have a bunch of friends who enjoy smoking cigars. I’ve tried it a few times, but have never really liked it. For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed the smell of a smoking pipe, so for some time, I have really wanted to try the whole pipe thing. Not too long ago, I went with a friend and bought my first pipe. My pipe is old and rugged looking – very cool. His pipe is shiny and polished – very metro sexual. After smoking my pipe just once I knew it was for me. I thoroughly enjoy it. It makes me feel smarter and I think it is probably going to make me a better writer – kind of like Tolkien or Lewis….or maybe not that good.


I really like Jesus and his teachings. I try to live my life according to the things that he taught. Some days are better than others. I figure that if everyone on the planet tried to live by his teachings, the world would be a much better place. I don’t like religion or consumer Christianity. I don’t think Jesus likes those things either.


I greatly enjoy playing poker, primarily Texas Hold ‘em. If I’m going to hang out with a group of guys, this is my favorite thing to do with them. I enjoy watching poker tournaments, but would much rather play. I have never had a royal flush, but I did take down a monster pot once with a four of a kind.


I love to write. I am a thinker and a contemplative type. I started keeping journals when I was 19 years old and still carry a journal with me daily. I think best through writing, which is one reason that I began this blog some years ago. I have about 30 blogs in the queue. Some have to do with faith; others are about my kids and my adventures as a dad. Some are about marriage and still others are about movies and books that I enjoy. I also enjoy working on short stories and perhaps, one day, a book.

Deep Conversation

I enjoy dialoguing about matters of love and life and theology. Most of these conversations are best enjoyed with a good friend or two over a great cup of coffee, a good beer, or a pipe. I am open to different sides of the argument and am okay with us not agreeing if you are okay with it.


One thing that I love about having kids is the fact that I get to still play with toys. Transformers. Matchbox cars. Knights and castles. Monster trucks. There has to be a place in every guy, I’m sure, that just never really wants to grow up. My newest favorite toy is actually one that my wife gave me for Father’s Day. It is a black baby doll. I cry just about every time I look at it because it is the first toy I am going to give to my daughter, Zoe, as soon as we bring her home from Ethiopia.


I love to dance. I don’t dance well. I dance like a 33 year old white guy and am actually self conscious about it, which keeps me on the sidelines a lot of times. However, I am not hindered at home and will dance all day with my boys. I can’t wait till Zoe gets here. I think she’s going to be able to help me with my moves.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

How Dave Changed My Life

My life and my marriage will never be the same...and the way it happened was really an accident. It occurred one day while I was on itunes checking out a few of the new tunes on the 2009 release Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King by the Dave Matthews Band. One track title – You and Me – arrested my attention like no other.

It only took me a few seconds of listening before I was taken by the words that Dave was singing. Rich with sweet acoustic guitar, well placed tambourine and the amazing Dave Matthews signature strings, the South African poet sang straight to my heart:

We can always look back at what we did
All these memories of you and me baby
But right now it's you and me forever girl
And you know we could do better than anything that we did
You know that you and me, we could do anything

You and me together, we could do anything, Baby
You and me together yeah, yeah
Two of us together, we could do anything, baby [Full Lyrics]

The same heart that those words penetrated is a heart that is full of dreams and ideas. and desires. I want this planet and the people that I encounter on it to be better off because I am here. I have a heart to impact my world in a variety of ways. The way I raise my kids. The way I respect and honor people. The way I care for nobodies. The way I love people who are different than me. The way I learn how to give of myself. The way I take care of the planet. The way I treasure my wife. The way I love and live and engage in the everyday.

There are two things though that hold me back – doubt and laziness. As I sat however, and meditated on Dave’s words I was reminded of two other very important things.

Number 1: I am married to and get to share my life with an amazing woman (who also has dreams and ideas).

Number 2: Right now is the only moment that we are guaranteed.

Therefore, if Kristy and I have dreams, then today seems like a good day to get off of the sofa, get to God, allow him to calm our fears and follow our hearts.
We’ve been given time and life together….today….and we can do anything.

My soon to be daughter, Zoe, is going to know this song, as it is one of the biggest reasons that we are now 4 months into adopting our baby girl from Ethiopia. Adoption has been on our hearts for more than 7 years, but doubt, finances and laziness were keeping us on the sidelines. I’ve come to realize that whenever I’m sitting on the sidelines, it’s because I’m allowing my head to win the contest with my heart. But my life is most full when I allow my heart to win.

I love when my heart trumps my head. It is a beautiful thing.

So, what dreams are in your heart?

What is holding you back?

What words has God been speaking to you through music or art or books to encourage you to move? How will you respond?

And Kristy....I love that we are learning to love and live on this journey together. You and me. You are simply amazing.

And, Dave.....thanks.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

American Jesus: Jesus, John & Jerry

The other day my family and I were with some friends in Orange Beach, AL. It was a beautiful day in beachtown with sweltering temperatures over 100 degrees. Like any normal people who are exposed to such heat, my friend Dave and I grabbed a couple of beers and headed on down to the lazy river – because lazy works when you’re on vacation.

As we slowly moved down the river our conversation was quite diverse as we discussed our marriages, our kids, our dislike of Guinness, our love for reading and our disdain for pop Christianity.

It was this last topic that got me thinking about starting a blog series entitled American Jesus.

It seems that in the land of the free and the home of the brave, there are a whole lot of versions of this religion called Christianity. At the same time, a lot of people make a whole lot of money selling their version of Christianity. The interesting thing about this is that some of these versions of Christianity only work in countries that can afford it. It’s what I like to call the American Jesus mentality.

All around our great country, there are countless numbers of people who have somehow bought into this idea that God's single most desire for their life is that they would be healthy and wealthy. That god only has good things in store for those who have full faith in him and who trust him. If you’re single, have faith, because god has a good plan for a hope and a future (which we interpret to mean a spouse.) If you’re sick, have faith, because god has a good plan for a hope and a future (which we interpret to mean full health.) If you’re jobless, have faith, because god has a good plan for a hope and a future (which we interpret to mean a job, but not just any job! Instead, if you have enough faith, it will be a job that will provide more money than you know what to do with, because obviously God desires that all his children have lots of money, houses and boats.)

While floating along the lazy river, enjoying the last of my refreshing beverage, I had this thought. How did Jesus interpret this popular verse? And should we perhaps interpret it the same way. I sometimes think that Jesus would say to us, "You keep using that verse. I do not think that verse means what you think it means."

Here’s a thought: When John (the Baptist) was rotting in a dungeon beneath Herod’s palace, while Jesus hung out at parties, drank wine at weddings, feasted with all kinds of high class and ragamuffins– what was John thinking? Might he have been thinking, “Why am in Herod’s prison? I thought the Messiah was coming to do away with Herod!” And, “If this Jesus is really God’s son, then where’s the welfare and prospering?”

A better question might be, why didn’t Jesus head down to the prison and tell John, “Hey John, don’t worry. Remember what Jerry said, “I know the plans I have for you declares the me. Plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a hope and a future.”

Instead, Jesus sent some of John’s followers (Jesus didn’t even go!) to the prison to tell John….I am the guy. I am God…I’m just wearing these sandals. I am here to show people what the life of the future is all about. And John, whoever is not put off by me because of the way I do things –even if those things seem different than you thought they would be…well, that person will be happy they stuck with me.

A few days later, Herod had John’s head cut off.

Make no mistake about it. I believe in a God who loves the human race beyond measure. I believe that this God does heal people in the present, does bless people – some with stuff, some with brains, some with common sense and some people just get a cat. But the story that this God is telling is not about health and wealth this side of new heavens and new earth, but a story about people being invited to be reconciled to God here and now and to live the life of the future in the present. It’s about learning what it is to love God and actually love people, learning to forgive and show mercy and recognize beauty. It’s a story about God laying his life down so others could experience life and then God inviting us to lay our lives down so that still others can find life. The truth is, it’s a far cry from getting rich and living to be 120.

American Jesus is a pretty popular guy these days. The only problem is that he doesn’t look anything like the real Jesus that we read about in the Bible.

Where have you encountered American Jesus?

When has God not behaved the way you thought he should/would? Is there a chance that God is different than you thought? Are you open to that thought?

Join us next time for American Jesus: Jesus and the Prostitute

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Learning to Lead

Tonight was another good old fashioned Jeansonne boys dance party. The new thing at these dance parties is that now the boys like to take turns leading or being the ‘Dance King’. The Dance King gets to create the moves and the rest of us follow. Jonah, who is 4 years old, is a dancing machine. He is currently working on his head spin. I’m not kidding! I have to regularly tell this kid that spinning on his head is not a dance move I want him perfecting. All the same, he has great moves and beautiful creativity when it comes to choreographing a piece. The interesting thing about Jonah though, as well as most kids….and most adults for that matter is that he loves to lead and be in charge, but he’s not so keen on following. Immediately upon my transferring the Dance King title and role to his older brother, Jonah threw a fit, walked his way to the corner of the room, plopped himself down and pouted.

I walked over to Jonah to explain to him that part of being a good leader is learning how to be a great follower. I urged him on and encouraged him to learn what it is to follow someone else’s lead. The truth is you can’t lead well until you learn to follow well.

He’s 4. He didn’t get it. But I figure that it’s never too early to start learning.

Is it possible for us to actually learn this valuable lesson at an early age in life?

Did you have to learn this lesson the hard way or were you able to learn it on the dance floor of your parent's home?

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Scary Little Thing Called Risk

Last year, I was talking to a friend about money, faith, risk, trust, heresy (the prosperity gospel) and the Kingdom of God. During our conversation he told me that he had been saving his money in various ways. Primarily, he was stashing money away in his 401K as well as keeping a savings account in which he had built a sizable cushion – enough to keep him going for some time if he were to ever find himself out of work.

He went on to tell me that a number of his friends had recently lost their jobs due to the economic downturn. Without even missing a beat, he said that he felt like God was telling him to use his savings to start paying his friends rents and mortgages. His words were, "All this time, I thought I was saving this money for my own crisis, only to realize that the money wasn't supposed to just sit there when other people were in need."

Fast forward to 2 months ago. Same friend. Same type of conversation. This time, he mentioned to me that he had greatly reduced the amount of money that he was dumping into his 401K so that he would have more cash at his disposal to actually give away.

I've been wrestling a lot lately with what it means to actually follow God with my life and with my money. What it really looks like to take risk and to trust him.

Here are some of the thoughts and questions that I have been wrestling with:

If all of the current resources that I have really belong to God, then should I be more pro-active in asking him how to use them? Instead of asking God how he can help me save more, should I first be asking him where I can give more?

If Jesus says, "Follow after me and I'll take care of everything else", when, exactly, should I start doing this? Do I start taking risk after I feel like my 401K has enough money in it? Do I decide to start giving money away once I’m feeling secure in my savings? Or my house is paid off?

If the life of the future lived in the present by God’s people is one of generosity, then why am I not more generous?

I've realized over this last year that I used to be a lot more generous. Then I became a lot more careful. For the past couple of years, I have been very focused on planning and saving. Trying to put myself in position to have all of my bases covered so that one day, I can finally have enough, finally relax....and then.....I can really start to be generous and follow after the things God is asking me to do.

Don't get me wrong....I think saving is smart and I think it can also be good stewardship. At the same time, I wonder these days, when Jesus said,”Follow me, put me first and I’ll take care of the rest…” Did he actually mean that we should follow him and literally trust that he would work everything else out?

I fully comprehend these ideas with my head, but recently, I’ve realized that I really do get a wonderful sense of security from the amount of money that I have in my bank accounts (or anxiety from lack thereof). The interesting thing is, when I think about God’s call to follow and trust him, it seems like the only ones who ever get to really find out if he was serious when he said he would take care of everything else, are the ones who take risks to follow him.

The thing is - risk is really scary for me. But lately, I’m realizing (again) that this Jesus following life…a true, authentic, Jesus following life is probably supposed to be lived more in the world of risk and trust than it is safety and stability.

So, how about you? Have you ever wrestled with the risk and trust vs. safety and stability issue?

How much comfort and safety do you receive from stuff?

If you are a Jesus follower, have you asked him lately where he might want you to risk something?

Friday, May 14, 2010

8109 Miles

Kristy and I were married on March 1, 2003. Like most couples, we both came into our relationship with lots of thoughts and ideas and dreams about what and who we could be as a couple. From the very beginning, one of the things that we discussed often was our desire to one day adopt a child. We were so young at the time (and we still are), but individually we both shared a similar desire, a heart to one day be parents to a child who did not have parents.

It was not long into our marriage that we became pregnant with our first son. Micah was born in 2004.

Our second son, Jonah, was born in 2005.

Our third son, Nate, was born in 2007.

Our fourth son, Lucas, was born in 2008.

It’s not that we really had anything against 2006; we were just taking a little breather.

Though, we were incredibly busy having all of these little fellas (some of us were busy making, some busy having) we always kept our conversation about adoption going. We would discuss between pregnancies if the timing was right and each time the timing just didn’t feel quite right.

After Lucas was born, we picked the conversation up once again. Only this time, something felt different. We both sensed that we still wanted more children, but we also sensed that we might be done actually having children. For the past year or so, we have revisited the conversation about adopting a child, many, many times.

The desire has continued to grow and in January of 2010, we took the conversation from ‘should we one day adopt?’ to, ‘we should one day adopt.’

In March of 2010, Kristy and I took a trip to Austin, TX together with our 4 boys to spend about 8 days with some friends. While we were there, we experienced incredible bonding as a family and amazing time being fully engaged with one another and God. On that trip, I remember looking at Kristy one day and saying to her…

“We have our lives to live and love together. If there are dreams in our hearts that have been placed there by God, then we need to trust him and chase after those dreams. We can do anything that we want. We are deeply connected to God and we can trust the stuff inside of us.”

We came home, and decided that now is the time.

On April 28, 2010, we applied to adopt a baby girl from Ethiopia.

Today, our application was accepted. (This sentence should be read with a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm and excitement!)

We are choosing to adopt a child, because feel that God has given us a heart for more. It is true, with our track record, that we could probably have more natural, biological children; however, we know that there are millions of children around this amazing globe who do not have wonderful homes to grow up in and we would like to open our lives and share our love to make a lifelong difference in at least one of these children’s lives.

We have chosen international adoption because our hearts have been enlarged by the love of our incredible God - our God, who is a global God and has taught us so much over the years about his kingdom and his intense love for all people. At the same time, Kristy and I both have an unexplainable leaning towards Africa.

For those of you who are interested, we invite you to journey with us. We have created a new blog for this journey at

Along the way, we would greatly appreciate all of your prayers. There are actually a few specific things that you could pray for:

Please pray for our daughter who, more than likely, has not yet been conceived.

Please pray for us and for the process. International adoption is a long and tedious process and there is a lot of red tape. Please pray that things go smoothly.

For various reasons, international adoption is incredibly expensive. We have a game plan in place, but would appreciate your prayers in this area.

Please pray for our daughter’s biological mother and father who will be placed in the position of having to put her up for adoption.

We are incredibly excited about this path and this journey and look forward to sharing it with you.

Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers!

* 8109 miles is the distance from New Orleans, Louisiana to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Time to Dance

I have a new morning routine. My new routine is designed to help me slow down and be more engaged in this good life. In my new routine, I try to get up before the rest of the family (as I did in my old routine), but now, instead of getting ready and hurrying off to Starbucks before work (old routine), I now stumble straight into the kitchen. I usually put on some type of music to set the mood for a happy home when my people wake up; something that is conducive to worshipping God – usually a little Dave Matthews, U2, David Crowder, Norah Jones or Veggie Tales. Normally, by this time, the boys are awake (and it does not matter if it is 5:30 am or 7:30 am – If I’m in the kitchen, somehow, they know it) and we begin working on breakfast. After breakfast everyone goes to their rooms, gets dressed, brushes their teeth and whatever else needs to be done.

It’s during this time, that I make my way to our playroom and set the ipod to any number of songs that immediately signal to the boys….it’s time to dance. It’s kind of funny because they know what these tunes are.

As soon as my people hear, I Got a Feeling (Black Eyed Peas), Hey, Soul Sister (Train), Christ is Risen (Jeremy Riddle), I Just Haven’t Met You Yet (Michael Buble), or any other number of songs – they dance their way to the playroom – no matter what they were in the middle of. Literally, sometimes they arrive with a toothbrush in hand, sometimes with just one shoe on, sometimes with no pants – no matter what they were in the middle of – each Jeansonne boy finds his way to the playroom, moving to the music (even our 15 month old…he can’t talk but he can dance!)

For the past number of weeks, it has been the greatest moment of most of my days. Me and my boys dancing it up together, for minutes each morning. Unfortunately, these boys are learning their moves from me, but that’s another blog for another day. (If you need an image think of an NFL player’s touchdown celebration and combine that with Ellen’s mad dance skills.)

It’s a fantastic way to start our day.

Now, dancing with my boys might just be for a season, but dancing with my boys each morning has reminded me and will hopefully instill within them, that no matter how busy and/or serious things get in our lives…..

It’s good to make time to dance.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Looking for School Zones

Last week, I was driving with a friend of mine when all of a sudden I realized that I was actually in tune with the conversation that we were having. We were about 10 minutes into our drive from point A to point B when we came across those blinking yellow lights indicating a school zone. I slowed down from 35 to 20 mph only to realize that my entire day slowed down in that moment. As we drove through the school zone, I noticed the homes on the street, the kids walking along the sidewalks and most of all; I caught every single word that my friend spoke. I love hitting the school zones, because they are my new built in reminder that life is happening.

About 5 weeks ago, Kris and I took the kids on an 8 day road trip. Our adventure landed us in Austin, TX at a friend’s house. It was a life changing experience for us as we spent every minute of all 8 days together as a family. We spent our days at parks and festivals and shopping malls and other friend’s homes. We spent our evenings sitting together eating dinner, bathing the kids, reading and then after putting them to sleep, we would sit together engaged in real conversation over a glass of wine.

After being there for about 6 days, we couldn't figure out why we felt so connected to each other and to all of our kids. We could only determine that we both felt incredibly relaxed and loved the slow pace of life we were experiencing. Obviously, part of our ability to relax was the simple fact that we were on vacation and away from the normal hustle and bustle of our busy lives. But, there was still more to it than that. I have been on many ‘vacations’ and still missed the moments. This was different. This was intentional. Kristy and I ventured out on this trip very determined to make the most of our time as a family and as a couple.

It was also on day 6 in Austin that we determined to become more intentional from that day on. Since that fantastic vacation, we have been on a quest to figure out how to slow down in our everyday, ordinary life. So far, it has been amazing. As a family, I feel that we are more connected than ever before. Some of the ways that we have become more intentional include:

Getting rid of our television. We got rid of the TV and re-arranged our den to accommodate a slower pace of life.

Slowing down in the mornings. Instead of rushing out to Starbucks each morning (I was usually at the coffee shop each morning an hour before even needing to be at work), I now prepare breakfast each morning and help get the boys ready for school. I get to work on time.

Slowing down at night. After eating dinner, bathing the kids, cleaning the kitchen and putting the boys to bed (we’ve always done all of these things together), we sit on the sofa and enjoy a little wine (or beer or coffee) and real conversation. It’s cool.

Looking for school zones. Now, I try to live at a much slower pace and love hitting the school zones, because they serve as my reminder to be engaged in the everyday, ordinary moments of this good life.