All Things Delcambre

In these little, forgotten moments.

mosiac heart We look like the happiest faces you’ve ever seen.

Countless pictures script a story, spanning time and different adventures, of us happy – always pulling each other close and smiling, ever smiling.  We are, mostly, until we’re not, and then smiles disappear, patience that holds our poses suddenly evades us and we are not okay anymore.  Hear this – we are not okay.

We fight, choose selfishly, antagonize each other, say hurtful things, and then hang apart in broken moments.  Pieces apart pulling together, that is who we are.  There are as many as 1,300 new blended families everyday in the United States, however as many as 60-70% of blended families end in ruin due to stress and continual unresolved disagreements.

We’re a family from different paths come together, pushing against relational gravity to warm in our new day sun.

Family is not an easy aspiration on any level, for family means togetherness founded in love, not proximity.  Being in the same space, in the same frame, does not teach us togetherness.  Amazing vacations and unforgettable adventures does not knit our hearts tighter.  Love does – not a love native to our own hearts, but a Love flooding our hearts in our weakest.  It is the polarization of our selfishness and God’s ready love that teaches us what love truly is.  What draws us back in close to each other again following a splintering argument, stabbing word or piercing disregard is the desire to belong to each other, which is a teaching love showing us a better way together.  We’re not a family because we live under one roof; we’re a family because of what happens in little forgotten moments between countless happy pictures.

Even now, in the midst of our tree house cabin stay adventure, it will be those happy memories of cave exploring, hammocks, kayaks, late movies and cousin games that will tell a story good enough to outlive the tension our blended family struggled to move through early in this vacation day.  These little abrasive moments, roughed in selfishness, hold all promise and opportunity to teach us.  They may be forgotten, but they will continue to be forging.  Deeper into life together, down the road where we learn to trust each other better in offense, all we will know is the strength in roots intertwined – a family indeed.

Yes, it’ll be the mosaic of these little forgotten moments displaying the truest of all pictures, of us together in thin and thick.


little giving king.

skull crownTo give is to loosen your heart from itself enough to love unmistakably. Forever a war will wage within my chest.  A native land will always be at stake.  Advances will be made and little won battles will convince me that peace is near and the war won, but I will learn that then, too, I must loosen my grip on my own heart and selfish desire.  The war is no less than my heart able to love freely in response to Christ's love allowed to vanquish all selfishly rooted motive smeared ugly by sin and mired in desire.

You see, to give from a place of charity in my heart as a means of merely being charitable and nice is a short-sighted advance in the war of my heart.  The problem is in my every attempt to be good, in every good try to really care for those close to me.  Sooner or later, most often sooner, my grip around my heart will tighten, my love will flatten, my words grow coarser and I will set alone as king of nothing really, just my little demanding heart. If the victory over our selfish hearts lies in love, then we must be givers rather than takers.  Give more than you demand receipt and you will love expertly - but, the caveat to be crossed is giving and loving without measure.  And that can only happen in our hearts, in our families, marriages and varying relationships, when our hearts have been pierced with a Love forever.  In Christ alone do our hearts both die and live, rightfully find end and beautifully are resurrected.

When I became a father, love swelled uncontrollably within the walls of my heart, pushing the limits of possession and responsibility. I felt for someone I didn't yet know but named. Yet quickly, I discovered how selfish my heart truly was.  My schedule was often disrupted for these beautiful little lives that were just so needy and dependent.  For the first time, I felt the regression of love in my selfish frustration as a parent.  And again, I see selfishness in my choosing to limit love in marriage.  It sounds awful, but it's honest.  I married an amazing woman just a handful of months ago, and again, I'm realizing just how selfish I can be.  There's the ebb and flow I alone allow, the back and forth of giving and taking in the form of love and selfishness.  I am one of five in our family and I fight when they want losing a bit more control of how and when life happens. I. Me. I demand for my way, justifying rudeness and trouncing too hard through beautifully blooming love. All in the quest of satisfying me.

Love is patient, love is kind . . . love is Christ.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

In life as we move in and out of conversations brushing shoulders with others regular to our day and in the intimate circle of family and marriage, the act of giving is holy, set apart from the speed of battling with our hearts, our hands clinching for self-satisfaction.  Let us quiet our efforts, gain victory through Christ and only then, love well.


3 Keys to Surviving Christmas

Home_AloneI remember the drug Christmas was - the twinkling lights, vintage sounds of seasonal classics, the humming of sugar coursing through my veins, the inexplicable phenomena of dancing sugar plums, roving schoolmate conversations on just how Santa could possibly do all that he was credited with doing, oh, and the free soaring elation of dreams come true in the days leading to Christmas morning.  It was the feeling that anything could happen; Santa a slave to our desire.  Christmas reigns as king of all days for most kids when all wanted is translated and understood in all received.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Poor old St. Nick pimped by consumerism as a delivery mechanism for desire equals happiness, receiving trumping giving and individual, again, escalated above all others.

As a parent, I’ve always felt rather infringed on by the ol’ jolly guy from the North Pole when on Christmas morning Santa is adored for fulfilling my daughters’ wish list.  After all, where in the world was he when I waited in eternal check out lines, braved armies of latte laced moms hellbent on getting their shopping carts through the most precariously tight spots and wasted away late night creating mosaic wonder with wrapping paper always cut too short?!  Tucked away in stories, songs and magical tradition, sipping a piping hot peppermint mocha.  Always the winner and well used to the adulation.  Good spot, Santa.

There’s much to be said about the shimmering fantasy that Christmas both is and is not.  First, there’s December 26th when the world finally exhales from Black Friday and Christmas morning.  Decorations look worn, work resumes and we remember that Christmas feels more like an extended dream than an intentional celebration.  Then there’s the facade Christmas can be when nurturing an ethereal fantasy of the most wonderful time of the year distorts happiness and ensures unmet expectations.  There’s just no way that everything will always tie together perfectly like a Hallmark family movie special - someone will get in an argument, the turkey will be too dry, the day will move too fast, you will undoubtedly receive a gift causing you to wonder if the giver even knows you, etc.

For many, the idea of Christmas will again outshine the actuality and history of the celebration.

Promise fulfilled.  Sin’s grasp threatened in the breath of a baby foretold.  Redemption personified in the God-man rising from the poorest of poor.  Man’s heart barred from the garden open-armed welcomed into the Kingdom.

In our home, we accept Santa as part of Christmas, along with Christmas trees, lights hanging from our house and gifts, but the story to own them all is that of selfishness ushering in emptiness and brokenness and the unrelenting, decided love of a Father who stops at nothing to make all as it should be again.  Advent sets a right rhythm to our observance of Christmas.  We don’t wrestle to keep the Christ in CHRISTmas.  Advent reminds us to rest in the irrevocable promise of Christ both now and always.

It simply is so easy to live at a ferocious pace in the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas day, and in doing so, the season shrinks to a blur of tinsel, shopping lists and seasonal have to’s.  As a result, Christmas really does come and go in the twinkle of an eye.  There’s so much more to the season that can completely serve as a foundational building block to your children's developing world.

As a means of surviving the hustle of the holidays, I’ve discovered three keys to fully engaging in Christmas as a family.

Set expectation Each year we start at the beginning again.  Before the nativity came the need.  Four Sundays before Christmas we set expectation with our need for Savior that began all the way back in the garden when Adam and Eve broke away from God and clung to themselves and desire.  The waiting in brokenness through time and promise spoken in ancient prophecies leads us to nativity where Jesus entered time humbly.  Everything else about Christmas seems to appropriately fall into lined priority as proper expectation is established each year.  I want my kids to celebrate and experience the magic and elation of Christmas as a result of God’s promise.

Have a Plan As a means of not being pushed forward too fast by the busyness and bustle of the season, we try very hard at being picky about what we do and what we don’t do.  Just this past weekend, Marissa and I sat down to plan and layout our family activities for the month.  This has helped me in two distinct ways.  Having a schedule for our family events helps me focus on enjoying family instead of trying to do everything.  Maybe more important, having a plan is helping me actually save money during the Christmas holidays while enjoying our time more meaningfully.  One in three families will push themselves into debt during the Christmas season in an attempt to buy happiness in presents and experiences.

Honor traditions As our kids grow so does our activity.  What needs to be maintained throughout the year is family and home, a place to belong and return to.  We maintain family and home in our held traditions.  There’s nothing elaborate about most of our traditions.  During the holidays, the girls always expect movie nights, hot cocoa and Christmas cookies in addition to our family Christmas tree decorating and their little sisters’ Christmas tree decorating event where they have full reign over their own three foot tree.

Christmas can be a mixed bag for many people depending on past experiences, both highs and lows.  It’s important to remember to always set the expectation of Christ as both reason and lasting promise as the season begins.  In doing so, you and your family will experience joy independent of the hustle and the bustle of Christmas.