Tag Archives: Family

World Peace?

World Peace - Love your family


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



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Filed under Family, influence with the world, Loving others, Peace, Quote, Religion and Spirituality

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

A chance to learn something new

Josh and I leave today – Wednesday, July 4th – for a 5-day parent/teen extreme camping trip. We will drive three hours to a camp in Ohio where we will experience various obstacle course events and then we’ll load up in a van and drive several more hours to a primitive camp setting near Beckley, WV.

Our group of 8 or 10 will spent Thursday caving, Friday whitewater rafting and Saturday hiking before we head home on Sunday. In between we’ll cook over an open fire, worship under the stars and dig into God’s word together.

If all of that sounds exciting and exhausting… you’re spot on! It is both of those things and more!

To be honest, I’ve done this trip 6 times now so it’s very familiar. But this will be Josh’s first year to go and that makes all the difference in the world. His four older siblings each got turns going and the memories we made are priceless.

Doing the different challenges with each kid has proven to be very interesting because they each have their own likes, dislikes and comfort zones.

Doing the blind (totally dark) crawl in the cave with Elijah, our oldest, was memorable as we could hear each other breathing heavy from being nervous. But he absolutely loved the whitewater rafting.

Sam, our second oldest who is now a U.S. Marine, thought the blind crawl was a piece of cake and even a bit boring; but he never did go up to the high ropes course.

It was especially meaningful two years ago when our family was going through a very difficult season of life. It was the girls’ – Mykaela and Kyrsten (twins) – first year to go. I was brought to tears watching them challenge and encourage each other as they did things way outside their comfort zones.

So I’m eager to see how Josh enjoys our adventure. What parts of it will stretch him and how will he respond under pressure? Five full days away from the familiar getting to know ourselves, each other and God a little better.

It’s fun to do all of this in a planned, prepared way. But life doesn’t always work that way. Actually, it seldom works that way. The challenges come at us when we least expect them or feel ill-prepared to handle them.

But that’s when we learn something new about ourself and the God who is orchestrating this journey.

What circumstances or seasons of life have stretched you the most or taught you something new about yourself or God?

P.S. – I look forward to hearing from you but won’t be able to respond until we get back from our trip.


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


Filed under Camp, Family, God, Life in General

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

Fearless: The Adam Brown Story

I’ve read my share of inspirational stories, but none compares to that of Adam Brown – a SEAL Team SIX Operator. From hometown hero… to drug addict doing jail time… to Navy SEAL, it’s a story of triumph second to none.

Fearless is a chronicle of heroism and humanity at its best. Adam Brown was a man of extremes, whose courage and determination was fueled by faith, family, and the love of a woman.

It’s about a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses and persevered to reach the top-tier of the US military. Always the first to volunteer for the most dangerous assignments, Adam’s  final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice.

“As a rule, we don’t endorse books or movies or anything regarding the command where I work, and Adam Brown worked, but as the author writes in Fearless, ‘you have to know the rules, so you know when to bend or break them.’ This is one of those times. Read this book. Period. It succeeds where all the others have failed.” ~ Anonymous SEAL Team SIX Operator

“Fearless is a clear and deeply honest portrait of an authentic American man who lived and loved with an intrepid personal velocity. For most of us, the failures and disappointments in life take their toll. Not for Adam Brown. He vanquished all life’s heartbreaks with faith, humility, and hard work.”
~ Kurt Johnstad, screenwriter, Act of Valor and 300

Fearless will hit bookshelves next week but I got the chance to read a prerelease copy and had trouble putting it down. I laughed… I cried… I was inspired to live life to the fullest.

To learn more or to order the book go here.
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Choices, Commitment, Courage, Desire, Determination, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Loyalty, Sacrifice, Teamwork

The origin of Mother’s Day (again)

For those who didn’t catch this last year.

We all know that Mother’s Day is a national holiday to honor and celebrate mothers and motherhood. But do you know how it all got started? Here is some of what I dug up. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

The first attempts to establish a “Mother’s Day” in the U.S. were usually marked by women’s peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War.

In 1868 Ann Jarvis created a committee to establish a “Mother’s Friendship Day” for the purpose of reuniting “families that had been divided during the Civil War.” Her desire was to create an annual memorial for mothers, but she died in 1905 before the celebration became popular.

There were a variety of regional events held in various states in the late 1800’s and Frank E. Hering, President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, made the first known public plea for “a national day to honor our mothers” in 1904.

In its present form, Mother’s Day was established by Anna Marie Jarvis, following the death of her mother Ann Jarvis, with the help of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker. A small service was held on May 12, 1907 in the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia where Anna’s mother had been teaching Sunday school.

But the first “official” service was on May 10, 1908 in the same church, accompanied by a larger ceremony in the Wanamaker Auditorium in the Wanamaker’s store in Philadelphia. She then campaigned to establish Mother’s Day first as a U.S. national holiday and then later as an international holiday.

Mother’s Day was first declared an official holiday by the state of West Virginia in 1910; other states soon followed. On May 8, 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day and requesting a proclamation. On May 9, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.

I doubt that many families today celebrate Mother’s Day to reunite sons who fought on separate sides of the American Civil War; but it does tend to be the one day that brings families together – for mom’s sake!

Not everyone had a mother worthy of celebration but if you did and if she is still alive – let her know how much you appreciate her!
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.


Filed under Children, Family, Gratitude, Inspiration, Mother's Day

Friday Funny! ;-) Having fun with some Disney Characters

Our time at Disney World a couple of weeks ago was full of fun and laughter, especially when it came to interacting with the Disney Characters. I shared last Friday about embarrassing Brynden with Minnie Mouse and Belle, but there were some other comical moments as well.

When Brynden went to get Donald Duck’s signature, he wouldn’t use Brynden’s Mickey Mouse pen! That is one jealous duck!

Stitch, the fun-loving alien space creature who loves to surf had fun teaching Josh the “hang ten” sign.

Joshua and Stitch

Goofy covered Eli’s face when then hugged.

Eli and Goofy

Goofy played around with Josh and got him to do a hip hop stance.

Josh and Goofy

 Goofy not only flirted with Mykaela and acted bashful when she gave him a kiss, but tried to sneak away with her.

We don’t have to be a Disney Character to have fun!
Make someone’s day special by sharing a smile and a laugh!


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


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

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