Category Archives: Parenting

Friday Funny! ;-) Parenting Teenagers

For all my friends with teenagers! Our sixth and youngest child just turned 13!

Parents of Teenagers


© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children, Friday Funny, Funny, Humor, Just for fun, Laughter, Parenting

Without Any Reservations

Even with the best of intentions, parenting is a tricky journey. The ups, the downs, the unexpected moments – some good, some not so good. With six kids and 21 years under our belt we have come to rely even more on the grace of God and prayer.

When our kids turned 13 we took them away for an overnight trip full of special events as a rite of passage. One of the talks we have is about making their faith in God their own. But just 5 short years later when the time comes for them to head off on their own you can’t help but wonder how they will do.

We have two out of the nest (mostly) and four still at home. Our oldest is beginning his senior year of college and recently got engaged to a wonderful gal.

Eli has had his share of wrestling through faith issues and growing up the kid of a pastor brings its own unique set of obstacles. But to see him grow into his place in God’s story is so rewarding. Yesterday he posted this on Facebook.

I share it not only because it touched my heart as a father but because it challenged me as a follower of Jesus.

“Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Not even necessarily with a person. The first time you experienced something so powerful or amazing or awe-inspiring that you couldn’t imagine ever living without it again. Something so integral to who you are as a person that if you were to lose it, it would be akin to losing a limb. I remember the first time I ever stepped out onto stage. I was seven. I remember the rush. The exhilaration. The feeling that this was the epitome of how I would ever feel. Fast forward six years and I was back on stage at a community theater. Now, almost nine years later, I’m still in love. Ask anyone I know, they’ll tell you that once I’m in a show, I disappear. Every fiber of my being becomes wrapped up into the show and my part to play.”

“Earlier this week, a very wise man in my life reminded me to, “Never forget your first love.” It took me a while to realize that he wasn’t speaking in reference to my love for theater. He was speaking in reference to God. This is what God longs for from us. That we would be so madly in love with him that every fiber of our being becomes wrapped up in him and his bigger story. I can’t imagine a more perfect way to spend a life, but it’s often so easy to lose sight of our first love. So this is my prayer for myself and for all other believers out there. That we might never lose sight of our first love. That we become so wrapped up in God and his story that we can’t help but be an integral part of it. That we learn to truly and completely let go and love God without any reservations.” ~ Elijah Alvey

Is there anything or anyone we’re loving more than God?

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Commitment, God, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Loving God, Parenting, Prayer, Priorities, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Surrender

Friday Funny! ;-) For moms!

For moms everywhere who do the seemingly impossible every day!


© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Children, Determination, Family, Funny, Humor, Just for fun, Laughter, Parenting

The best part of our trip was…

Last week I blogged about A chance to learn something new when my son Josh and I left for a 5-day parent/teen extreme camping trip. This was the sixth time for me but the first for Josh.

That’s Josh and I on the right side.

I was excited about what we might learn about ourselves, each other and God while sharing in some challenging and fun experiences.

Josh rock climbing like a mountain goat!

Josh had done some of these things before: The giant swing, the zip line, camping out under the stars and even cooking over an open fire.

But some were new experiences: rock climbing, rappelling, high ropes course obstacles, caving, hiking the New River Gorge and white water rafting.

Josh on the giant swing! Lower arrow is the platform; upper arrow is Josh!

Josh loved every part of it and we enjoyed seeing some old friends along with making new ones. Worshipping with just a guitar and a sky full of stars is simply amazing. And the chance to share about our journey with God and encourage one another was priceless.

Other parts of our trip were not so fun as we got: stuck sleeping on some slanted ground, run off the river one day by a bad storm, and had to deal with wet stuff in the tent because of that same storm… but that’s all part of the adventure.

Ami, Josh and Anna during our hike.

I anticipated sharing with you some great, new insight learned during our outing, but the best part of our trip was simply the chance to be together.

Sometimes I obsess with looking for or wanting to share some new insight and forget that the real core of life is about the relationships we have in the midst of the journey.

Years from now the mention of just a few choice words will make us laugh and smile as Josh and I relive the moments we shared together. Those are the kinds of moments that make life rich and full.

Are you enjoying those moments with your loved ones?


© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Children, Family, Fellowship, Life in General, Loving others, Parenting, Priorities

I was genuinely shocked!

My dad died at the age of 52 when I was just starting my senior year of high school. It was sudden and unexpected; a massive heart attack while playing golf.

My dad was not one for showing emotions, unless one of us boys had done something stupid. Not an uncommon occurrence with four boys under one roof, but it was more my older brothers than me – really!

About four months after my dad died my brother Dave had me out driving to teach me about rear-wheel drive cars and snow. Front-wheel drive today is much safer but not nearly as exciting or fun.

As we drove we got to talking about Dad. My brother told me something that I wasn’t expecting to hear. He told me that our dad loved us, was proud of us boys and talked about us all the time at work.

I was genuinely shocked!

I truly didn’t know that my dad felt that way. He provided for us and played catch once in a while; but I don’t remember him ever telling me that he was proud of me or loved me.

Back row: Elijah, Joshua, Valerie (Sam’s wife) and Brynden
Front row: Kyrsten, Sam, Aaron and Mykaela

Long before I became a dad I determined that I wanted my kids to know that I love them. When our kids were little Susan and I would play a little game with them.

“Hey, you know what?”


“I love you. You know why?”


“Just because…”

They are older now, ranging in age from 21 to 12. But they still get a hug or kiss and an “I love you” several times a day. It’s less frequent with Eli and Sam since they’re out of the nest but there is no hesitation when we do get the chance to be together.

Expressing our feelings as a family is comfortable and familiar. So I was surprised at the wave of emotions that overwhelmed me last week when I hugged Sam goodbye for the last time before heading back to Indiana.

That same wave hit again two nights ago after talking with Sam by phone for the last time before he deployed with the Marines for six months.

It is one thing to hug your kid as they head out the door for college or their own home; it’s a completely different matter to say goodbye when they are deploying with a military unit.

The odds of staying safe are in Sam’s favor, but the reality of the possibility that he may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice is still very real… and sobering.

Don’t take a single day of life with your loved ones for granted! Cherish every moment and leave nothing unsaid or undone.

And if you feel inclined to offer a prayer for our Sam and all those who serve in the military, I would be most grateful. But don’t just pray for their safety. Pray first and foremost for their relationship with God – to know Him or grow closer to Him.


© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Children, Family, Loving others, Parenting, Relationship with God

“I might have seen the sun come up”

Background: (stuff you need to know to understand the short dialogue that follows) A couple of weeks ago Susan and I flew out to San Diego to visit our son Sam and his family before he left for a six-month deployment with the USMC. I stayed a week and Susan stayed two weeks. She is flying back late tonight with Valerie and Aaron.

While out there, Sam and I played a video game called Midnight Club: Los Angeles – a racing game. The graphics are amazing and the streets you race on are those of LA. There are lots of other cars on the streets NOT racing (road hogs!) and there are even some police cruisers that occasionally pursue you and pull you over – if they can catch you.

You gain points and earn money by winning races. More points and money means more options of cars that you can buy and the chance to upgrade your vehicle of choice. As you advance in your ranking – I’m now an “Elite Driver” – the races get harder but the rewards get bigger.

I’ve always loved cars, motorcycles and speed… so I really enjoyed playing this game. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that Susan decided to surprise me with my own copy as an early Father’s Day gift before my return home. A couple of days ago I called Susan…

Me: Before the kids rat me out, I stayed up late playing that new game last night. (Confession is not only good for the soul but keeps others from having anything on you – LOL)

Susan: How late?

Me: Well… I might have seen the sun come up… (yes, I’m subtle AND vague. It’s a gift.)

Susan: (gasp) RICK!

I am a night owl by nature but staying up all night is extremely rare. We had a good laugh about it and she asked if she needed to tell the kids to hide it. I said no, but told the kids to ignore any text from their mom telling them to hide the game. LOL

I’m not advocating video games per se and like most parents I monitor not only what my kids play but how long they sit in front of the TV. But something unexpected happened with this particular game.

Brynden, our youngest, is almost 13 and hitting a critical period in his journey toward adulthood. Being very relational, it’s been a rough six months with his oldest brother moving to FL for a college internship and his next oldest brother moving to CA for the Marines.

So I’ve wanted to find new ways for us to connect and as it turns out he loves the new game as much as I do. I had no idea that cars or racing was something he would enjoy, but then again most of the games his older brothers play are either war games or action adventure.

Connecting over a video game might not seem very important in the big scheme of things but these little relational bridges will provide opportunity down the road to talk about the bigger issues of life when the need arises. I’ve had several of those moments lately with my 17-year-old twin daughters who are starting to look at colleges and careers.

Are we connecting with our kids in small ways so that we’ll have a voice with them when the bigger issues come up?

P.S. – Excuse me while I go race my $32,000 Ducati motorcycle around the streets of LA.

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Children, Family, Loving others, Parenting

It’s sharing the journey that makes it worthwhile!

The last time Eli, our oldest, was with us on a family vacation it was the summer of 2008 – just prior to his senior year of high school. Since then his college and summer work schedule has made it impossible for him to join us. So being with him a couple of weeks ago at Disney World was extra special.

Eli and Goofy

He’s always been a good kid but the changes that happen between 17 and 21 years-of-age are significant. He is a sharp young man and yes I’m biased but I could provide you a long list of others who would agree.

Since he’s lived down there for several months now, working at Disney, it was like we were visiting his home turf and he loves being there. Eli wasn’t just with us he was delighting in showing us around and acted as our personal tour guide.

He wanted to make sure everyone was having a great time and he routinely asked everyone what their favorite part was so far. After some of the bigger events he would turn to me with eyes twinkling like a kid in a candy store and ask, “What’d you think, Dad?”

It was so fun watching him interact with his younger siblings and listening to what they most enjoyed. He even coaxed Brynden into riding Mount Everest – a backwards roller coaster, mostly in the dark – with the promise of a special Disney souvenir.

I didn’t have any one favorite activity, though the late evening “Wishes” event at the Magic Kingdom was breath-taking. For me, the best part was taking it all in with my family. None of it would have been as special without them and even small things were special because of them.

Whatever it is that’s happening, where ever it is you’re headed, it’s the people sharing the journey that make it special. Take time today to stop and appreciate them. Let them know how much they mean to you.

And thank you for sharing the journey of this blog! I appreciate it more than you know!

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Children, Family, Fellowship, Friendship, Life in General, Parenting

Friday Funny! ;-) Embarrassing Brynden

Parenting comes with its fair share of challenges, rewards and little perks. One of those little perks is embarrassing my kids whenever I get the chance. Now, just to be clear, there is a world of difference between embarrassing them and belittling them. I don’t believe it’s ever OK to belittle them.

Last week at Disney World I had fun embarrassing Brynden on two separate occasions. He is our youngest (12 y.o.) and the only one who had never been there so he purchased an autograph book and worked hard to meet as many Disney Characters as possible.

As he was meeting Minnie Mouse and getting her autograph I said (loud enough for everyone to hear): “Hey Brynden, don’t forget that Mickey said to give Minnie a kiss from him.” He turned all shades of red but gave her the kiss.

Brynden with Minnie Mouse

Then on our last day there we stood in line to meet three of the Disney Princesses. As Brynden was getting an autograph from Belle I said (again, rather loudly): “Hey Brynden, did you tell Belle that she is your favorite princess?” (Which is true) Once again, he turned all kinds of red and Belle played it up perfectly as you can tell from the picture below.

Brynden with Belle

What fun we had making special memories as a family. Hope you enjoy some memory-making with your family this weekend!

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Children, Family, Funny, Humor, Just for fun, Laughter, Parenting

Immeasurably More!

Have you seen the new commercial by a well-known do-it-yourself store when a couple rushes into a big house where the walls are covered with nothing but white paper?

They are both carrying markers and when they draw the outline of an object on the blank wall it immediately pops into reality. A new appliance, some pieces of hardware, a new window or door.

As a guy with a carpentry background who struggles to complete remodeling projects on our old farm-house in a timely fashion I would love one of those magic markers.

But the point of the commercial is that this particular do-it-yourself store can take whatever you imagine and make it real. How cool is that?! But I’ve got one better.

In his letter to the Ephesians the Apostle Paul prays for them to be rooted and established in love and able to fully grasp the width, length, height and depth of the love of Christ. Then he makes this amazing statement:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

Paul has own unique way with words. How do you calculate “immeasurably more”? Whatever it is, God can do it with whatever we ask or imagine.

Obviously, this is not a promise to satisfy our own wants and desires. And our ability to imagine tends to grow smaller as we age. But in keeping with God’s kingdom purposes, what can you imagine God accomplishing?

  • Healing for a wreaked marriage?
  • Boldness to share the hope of Christ with those who don’t know Him?
  • Wisdom and grace for parents dealing with a rebellious child?
  • Real peace for a heart troubled with worry?
  • Freedom from addictions or sinful habits?
  • Better choices made by a rebellious child?
  • The hard-hearted person finally opening up to receive God’s gift of grace?
  • Character and integrity in those who serve in our government?
  • Courage to forgive those who have hurt us?
  • A renewed love of God for those who claim Jesus as Lord?

God delights to bring all manner of new life and restored hope because He loves us more than we can begin to fathom. The question is…

… what is it that we ask God for or imagine Him doing?

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Brokenness, Christianity, Courage, Family, Forgiveness, Glory of God, Grace, Hope, Imagination, influence with the world, Love of God, Marriage, Parenting, Peace, Prayer, Revival, Sin, Trusting God

Life is a gift! Keep celebrating it!

A year ago today I posted a blog entitled Hope Springs Anew! It was celebrating the arrival of our first grandchild after a very difficult 72 hours due to Valerie having preeclampsia.

Grandma Alvey (my wife Susan) with Aaron Tyler Alvey.

Coming 7 weeks early he weighed only 3 pounds – 10 ounces. He spent several weeks in the hospital due to his size but was healthy and able to breathe on his own from the very beginning.

Few things in life are as precious or reflect God’s glory more powerfully than a newborn baby!

Yesterday, Aaron Tyler Alvey turned one year old and we are still celebrating God’s gift of life!

Unfortunately, Aaron’s dad – our son Sam – is out of the country with the Marines on training. But Susan flew out a couple of weeks ago to keep Valerie and Aaron company; and celebrate their birthdays (Valerie is a leap year baby)!

And it looks like he got his Daddy’s (and Grandpa Alvey’s) sweet tooth!

Whatever you’re doing today, make time to stop and love on your kids and grandkids!

Life is a gift! Keep celebrating it!

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Children, Family, Glory of God, Life in General, Parenting