If you’ve been following me on social media for awhile, you’ll have noticed that I occasionally post little short stories for my kids in a series I’ve titled The Chronicles of the Dei Clan Warriors. I’ve decided to compile them here for the sake of convenience. There’s no underlying, thought-out-in-advance master plot here, or hours upon hours of careful editing, it’s just my brain to the keyboard as the stories come. Wondering how things are going to turn out for the Dei Clan? Me too! I’m following along same as you. Hope you enjoy!
Happy New Year! Procrastinator that I am, I'm sharing a post I never finished last year. However, it does also serve as an excellent point of reflection over one of our greatest family adventures of 2018... This past June I went on the longest road trip of my life—with my wife, a four-year-old, a three-year-old, a two-year-old, and a one-month-old. We had one reserved destination ~1,800 miles away and zero plans on how to get there. It was National Lampoon’s Vacation minus Wally World and the bb-gun hostage taking.
To backtrack a little, I should explain that this all began when my wife and I sat down to write out some New Year’s goals in 2017 and decided we should write out a “bucket list”. And so, we did—scribbling some prayerful thoughts on a napkin one evening at a noisy restaurant while a baby sitter watched the kids at home. Many line items spewed forth, one of which: the goal to see all the National Parks in the United States.
So, come this past May when we were blessed with our fourth child, Amelie, and a newly implemented eight week paternity leave plan at work, we asked ourselves: what’s one of the furthest parks we could see?
We landed at Acadia National Park in Maine, which is about a 27-hour drive from our home in Louisiana.
My wife asked if I could write a children’s story for our kids this Christmas. I came up with the following, titled "Why Is Santa so Jolly?" To Sawyer, Vivi, Mimi, and Amelie:
Christmas is such a wonderful time of year,
Filled with decorations, singing, and cheer.
But have you ever stopped and looked at all those twinkling lights,
And wondered why does Santa come in the night?
Why does he stick presents under a tree?
“What’s your plan?” Perhaps my least favorite question in the world.
I’m a go-with-the-flow kind of guy, so the idea of sitting down to plan makes me cringe. It is contrary to my very nature. But there’s also another element of plan making that I dislike: the fact that life has a peculiar habit of blowing up plans in your face.
Like that time I planned a trip to Maine – the lobster capital of our great country – only to have the first shellfish allergic reaction of my life the week prior. Or that time I planned to bring the family to Chik-fil-A after church on Sunday (recurring problem). Or that time that I planned to fix the leak below our bathroom sink without turning off the water supply to the house (okay, that was just poor planning).
I've always dreamed of being a writer - ever since my epic thriller "The Black Thing" written around the age of 5 or 6, that featured some sort of shady dancing figure with a boombox (because who wouldn't find that scary?). That would be my last completed book for over two decades. Every few years I'd take a stab at writing a novel, with what I believed to be a brilliant idea. I'd end up hammering out a chapter and quitting. It was not until God entered my life and paired up with me to write a story for His glory, that I was given the strength to follow through and write a full manuscript for a middle-grade Christian fiction novel by the name of A Fervent Warrior - a tale of a troubled boy in foster care that draws upon the parable of the scattering seed and the armor of God.
I consider that time a turning point, when I finally decided to seriously pursue my dreams of writing. Upon the advice of my writing manager (also known as my wife), I started a blog as a platform while I finished the manuscript. Being none the wiser, I thought, "Hey, why not name the blog the same as my novel?"
The past few months have been eventful for the Day family. At the beginning of the year, we were approached with an expatriate opportunity in a Southeast Asian country. Approached, mind you, we did not seek this out. The transfer promised a promotion, a slew of enticing benefits, an invaluable addition of acquired skills, and a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel Asia.
After many prayers for guidance and direction, we took a leap of faith, plunging in with the confidence for God to align the outcome according to His will. Next thing we knew, I passed the application and interviews and I was accepted as a qualified candidate, contingent on the country’s governmental approval.
Toddlers, man. They run on a relentless source of energy that is highly unstable and prone to erratic outbursts, and their decision-making processes baffle even the most abstract thinkers amongst us. “Hey, let’s steal a box of food coloring and use it to dye our hands up to our wrists so it looks like we are wearing permanent purple gloves!”
“I need to throw a tantrum at 2 am because it is absolutely imperative that I change out of my pajamas into a new t-shirt NOW!”
“Toilet tank lid? I want to pick it up and hold it!”
But while we are frustratedly cleaning up their messes, rubbing our sleepy eyes, and vacuuming up broken tank lid pieces, we are also treated to their refreshingly novel perspective of the world. Things to which we have long since become accustomed and jaded, are suddenly cool and amazing and exciting all over again – such as the humble tadpole.
Abbott finished ushering the last of the sheep into the pen and snapped the door shut. With a satisfied smile, he threw his arm around the neck of one of his sheep. Pulling his smart phone out of his pocket, he extended his arm and snapped a couple of selfies. “Oh yeah…I’m b-a-a-a-a-d!” A sudden blurb of movement out of the corner of his eyes caught his attention. Phone dropping to his side, he squinted at the figure walking towards him, silhouetted against the backdrop of the blazing sun. It was Jesse’s son.
“Hey David, what’s up man?” Abbott called out with a cheerful smile.
“Hey Abbott...I need to ask you a favor.” David’s serious tone matched the concern streaked across his face.
“Uh...sure man. What’s up?” Abbott replied. Where is this going?
This month I had the amazing opportunity to embark on my first ever trip to the Smoky Mountains with my family– all planned within the week prior. It was one of those “It’s time to get away, let’s go do this,” moments. Plus it checked off a box on my bucket list to visit all the national parks in the United States (barely started). So I looked up cabin rentals on Google – found a solid one with American Patriot Getaways (highly recommend them, can’t praise them enough), booked it, and off we went.
The game plan was to break up the trip by spending the night in Birmingham on the way to Gatlinburg. This was about a 5 hour journey and approximately half way for us. Instead, we made it to Meridian, Mississippi – a whopping hour and a half away.
While navigating the catacombs of our garage to kick off our house move in 2018, I found a letter I had written to my high school teacher regarding my final English paper – which I turned in a couple of weeks past its deadline. I found it amusing enough to be worth a share: “Dear Dr. Scott,
I understand that this paper is far past its deadline and I just wanted to clarify as to why I was not able to turn it in on time. I had originally finished my paper well ahead of schedule. The day that it was assigned, I sat down before my computer that evening to get a head start. An hour later I was staring at a very badly worded paragraph and a whole lot of blank space beneath it. Growing weary of my struggle with writer’s block, I was getting dangerously close to the threshold of my frustration. Just as I was about to call it quits, I was suddenly struck by a moment of sheer brilliance.