Twenty Things I Love about You….

I can’t believe the time has gone by so quickly. I remember almost fainting when your dad and I found out we had given birth to a girl after four boys. I remember uncontrollably crying when you released my hand to run into your first day of preschool. Throughout the years, I’ve sat through numerous dance recitals, and I’ve tasted some awesome food as you experimented with cooking. I remember the bittersweet feeling that overwhelmed me as I dropped you off at college. Now you are twenty! I praise God every day that He blessed me with my little girl. I am so proud of you. These are twenty things I love about you:

My only daughter
– Strong-willed (which allows you to stand firm in the important things)
– Very detailed (which means you see thing I often don’t see or remember:)
– Compassionate
– A good baker (Your brothers are giving a loud AMEN!)
– Patient (which enables you to hang on to a gift card for life)
– My TV buddy
– Encourager (Thank you for always being my biggest encourager)
– Heart that continues to seek after the Lord
– My shopping buddy
– Highly favored by your brothers
– Someone I look up to (Yes, I look up to you)
– Humble
– Beautiful inside and out
– Creative….very creative
– My sushi eating buddy
-You allow me to speak wisdom into your life
– Smart
– A friend to all
– Bossy (A note from Brandon: You are my sister and even though you boss me around I love you.  I love you just the way you are. God blesses you and so do I.) 

Love you! Happy 20th Birthday!

Talking as a Black Man

My son, Pastor Anthony, wrote this on his blog, and I wanted to share it because I think it speaks volumes.   

Croz Blogz


Race. It’s hot button issue right now. I guess it has been for has long as there’s been diversity in the world; however, with where the American climate is right now on the topic, I figured I’d share my perspective. No, I don’t want to argue about your hashtag or read you a list of statistics. That’s not the tone of my heart going into this blog. I simply  want to give you a glimpse into my experience as a man of color. What you decide to do my testimony, is up to you.
Through the grace of God, and the hard work of my parents, I never had to grow up in an environment common to most young African American males. I never had to worry about gang violence. I never had to worry about which route was the “safe” way to get home from school. We didn’t live in poverty. I was never blatantly discriminated for my race; I don’t recall falling victim to any hate crimes. I’ve had people call me “that word” before. I’ve had bottles thrown at me from moving cars as I’d ride my bike along the side of the road. Just the other day, I went to visit a building for work and the owner confused me with another man of color when I corrected him he simply stated,”oh well, you all look the same anyways, right?” I’ve had stuff like that happen…but none of the “bigger” realities of African-American youth made up my story. And so, I’m not going to sit here and try and fabricate something for the sake of an engaging blog post.
So, you may be thinking to yourself, “what’s the issue, Anthony?” You may be thinking, “see this is a great point! Those thug black people who are getting shot on the news must be asking for it because you’re not like them Anthony and nothing like that had ever happened to you! You’re different!” You may be thinking these things or you may have had those thoughts before (especially if you’re friends with me). However, in those statements lies what I want to talk about.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard “Anthony, you’re not really black. You’re the whitest black guy I know” growing up, I’d be one rich brotha. What people mean when they say this is, “Anthony, you don’t act how your race is supposed to (sometimes stereotypically) act.” And the truth is, no I don’t fall in line with what a lot of the African American culture represents. I’m a heavy metal listening, Toms-wearing, longboarding, man with a degree in English and the dance moves of a three-legged cow (as my wife would testify). I am who I am, and I’ve never tried to be anything or anyone else. However, there has been assumptive stigma put on that kind of thinking…because I don’t “act black” I’m immune from the realities of being a minority in America. This is simply not true and (I love you, my Caucasian friends) comes with some ignorance.
I remember when my family moved to the North Reno area (I was around 12). We moved into a quiet suburb, which was nice. However, one of our neighbors, down the street, hung a confederate flag over their house. I remember my mom cautioning us about this because the way to the local skate park and 7/11 involved walking past this house. “My family was nice!” “They would like us if they knew us!” I remember thinking…what did we do to deserve the feeling of having a knot in your stomach every time we would ride our bikes past that house, I thought. When I’m in the grocery store with my (white) wife and I catch people giving us looks, I know it’s not because we scored a killer deal on new sippy cups. When I’m driving and a cop is behind me and the thought goes through my head “be extra careful…you are black.” Even though I’m most likely driving to or from church and the cop behind is probably an awesome man or woman…the thoughts still surface. Why? Because at the end of the day, no matter how I talk or how I spend my free time…the color of my skin is still black, and there certain realities that come with that. I will have to pray for my children has they grow and head out into the world in a certain way because of their race. I will have to pray for my step daughter in a certain way because of the dynamics of growing up with a parent of color. It’s simply not as open and shut as “you don’t have anything to think about because you don’t act a specific way.”
Again, my desire isn’t to start a debate or accuse all white people of “not getting it.” I simply wanted you (the reader) to step into my shoes for a couple of minutes. Maybe you do need to seek a true understanding of what living as a minority looks like. Maybe you need to have real talks with your friends of a different race than yourself. Maybe you need to guard yourself against speaking too quickly when it comes to these sort of matters…especially if you’re not willing to do the work on the relational understanding end. Like I said earlier, what you decide to take away from this is up to you. For me, I think of all of this and I enter into a place of worship. Why? Because despite or even in spite of my race…heck even my actions, I am loved deeply by Jesus. Jesus, the son of God who’s grace and hope is for all colors, all races, all backgrounds, all heights , all weights, and all nations. I worship because, in His eyes, I’m not labeled as a “black guy” I’m called His friend, His family. In Him, that’s my identity.

Your Kid…Behind the Scenes: Legacy vs. Label

 My son, Pastor Anthony, wrote this blog post. Gives us moms something to think about. I posted my latest blog…Mom, Behind the Scenes on his blog Croz Blogz. I took a total different approach to show what moms really feel “behind the scenes”. Go check it out!

If you’re a Christian mom or dad, you’ve mostly likely  been pointed to the Bible verse, Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This saying is often used as very constant encouragement for Christian parents (of course it is, it’s from God). The idea of “training up” can be found all throughout scriptures in many different forms. The biggest example of this comes from Jesus Himself when He gives His followers the charge to be disciples who make disciples! Disciple people (train them up) in the life and love of Jesus as you do the same yourself. And as parents, our main calling in this can be found in our homes. Besides our spouse, our calling to disciple our kids is the most important duty we have within our discipleship lives. Heck, Paul says a man cannot even be considered for Eldership if his kids aren’t properly being “trained up” (1 Timothy 3:4). This is a big deal!

So as parents, how should we be training up our children? Well, making disciples is a legacy discussion. We as Christians are called to live with legacy mindsets, meaning we’re not just invested in our own salvation/lives/ministry…we’re called to keep our eyes on how the gospel will advance beyond ourselves. All the way back in Genesis 3, when sin has just entered the world, the Lord tells Satan that one day his head will be crushed by the foot of His son Jesus (Genesis 3:15). Among other things, this was God establishing His redemptive legacy which will unfold over the lives of many people throughout the Bible and even up to where we are in history right now. So as we train up our children, we keep in mind our prayer and desire to see the good news of Jesus carried throughout the lives of our ongoing family tree.

 All that being said, it’s easy for parents to get this calling confused. As a son, and as someone who works with sons and daughters as a (Pastor of Family Ministries) I’ve observed many parents mistaking leaving a legacy with leaving their label on their kids. What do I mean by this? You see, a legacy is something we pass on to our kids. A label is something we put on our kids. A legacy is something we desire to see our kids inherit. A label is something we make our kids feel like they need to carry in order to be fulfilled in the eyes of you. For example, we all know that our kids are so much more than what they do. But how often do we show them this? Do we put certain labels on them (getting good grades, marriage, making money, being well behaved, looking good) and when they fulfill these labels, we give them our approval?

 However, this is not legacy making. If we’ve ever made our kids feel as if they “need” to be Christians in order to receive approval from you, then we’ve just made a label wearer instead of a legacy carrier. If our ultimate desire is for our kids to “not” be like us when we were their age…then we’ve given our children the label of “I have to be better than xyz.” If our kids feel us trying to find our identity in them (If my kids aren’t well behaved good little Christian boys and girls, then I’ll get angry and upset because they’re making me feel like a failure), we’ve just given a label they will carry around in many different ways.

  Labels could be considered the opposite of Proverbs 22:6 in couple different ways. First, these expectations we put on our kids are often things they feel obligated to fulfill. “I don’t really like church, but I go because it makes my parents happy.” “I have to do well in school because my parents don’t want me to be a drop out like them.” “I struggle with whether or not I want to have sex or not because my parents told me if I do then I’ll be a tramp.” And this is hard because feeling obligated to do something for approval rather than desiring to do something because you are loved, is the opposite of the gospel! And if it is the opposite of the gospel, it isn’t proper disciple making! More often than not (I’ve talked to many kids who have experienced this) when kids feel like they need to live under those labels, stress and a great weight fall upon them.

When they can’t fulfill these obligations, there’s footholds for depression (I’m not good enough), rebellion (why even try when I can’t even make my parents happy anyways), self-harm (I just need to find something I can control), and sometimes it could even lead to straying away from the faith as soon as they get out from their parents’ home (close to 80% of young people stray away from the church as soon as they enter college). When we subconsciously tell our kids they need to be a certain way in order to receive our love…it does damage, because as I mentioned earlier…saying these things is not what God says to His children.      

 Lastly, leaving labels on our kids, rather than leaving a legacy through your kids, is not proper discipleship because ultimately (we would never say this, but think about it) we’re telling our kids that we want them to live out being made in our image rather than the image of God. If we’re telling our kids we need them to be a certain way because our identity lies in them (you need to go to church, so I feel like a good Christian mom or dad). Who’s glory are you seeking if they obey?

 If you’re still not sure, really search your heart for why you get so upset when your kids do something that fails to live up to your expectations. We become the “god” our kids want to serve, and our kids sense this from us and respond accordingly. God calls us to proper legacy making discipleship because it raises our kids in the shadow of the cross rather than ours. Being raised up in the gospel, our kids will find the hope, joy, and honor of living out who God has called them to be. Our Lord as made our kids beautiful and wonderful in His image; He’s made them with unique gifts and personalities for his glory. Our kids need us to help cultivate that truth, and if we need that…we will truly fulfill what it means to make disciples.

 Our kids don’t need (or even want) our labels. Heck, the world around them is already throwing enough expectations on them already. Our kids need (they want) us to train them to be the man or woman God has created them to be. We do this by taking what the love of Jesus has done in our lives and using His good foundation to establish a legacy through our kids.

The Pajama Interview: By Anthony Crosby

An interview my son did with his daughter, Sawyer. Check it out! And you can find his new blog link to the right under…My Blog List.

This was it. The interview of a lifetime. This was my chance to sit down with the great and awe-inspiring Sawyer Supp, on the week of her 4th birthday no less! The moment was here! She arrived still in her pajamas, her hair still affected by a long night’s sleep; this woman knows what it means to command a room with her presence. I welcomed her into a chair at my cool, gray interview table. She sat. She waited. I exhaled all of my anxieties away. It was time; I began asking my questions.

“Question one,” I said strongly to show some sense of my authority to Miss Supp, “So, you just turned 4…what are your big goals heading into this new year?” She took in the question. She thought over it slowly, with great patience. She was like a  wine connoisseur taking in a fine sip of Cabernet Sauvignon. I sat waiting for her answer with great anticipation. “Um, to give this beautiful girl a kiss!” She finally responded as she leaned over and gave her little sister Evaleigh, who was also present at the time of the interview, the best Eskimo kiss I’ve ever seen. I was so blown away! What humility! What compassion! I had never seen such selflessness in my life. It was no wonder the past three years of her life had been so lucrative

“Question two, who is your favorite person?” She sat there, not answering the question, for a great deal of time. You could tell this question interested her very little. It seemed like even the curtains on the wall were more attention grabbing than my interview skills. I began to sweat. Was I blowing this opportunity? No, I couldn’t end it here. “What person would you want to be like when you grow up?” I said, rephrasing the question…hoping to land a bite. “Um, my mom!” She finally answered. Yes! She took the question! Now time for a quick follow-up. “Why?” I quickly asked. “Because she goes like this…” she said as she got up from the table and began to shuffle her feet. She was doing some kind of dance! It was pure art! There were so much history and culture in every step; I couldn’t believe my eyes!

After trading chairs (I made the mistake of sitting in a red chair at the start of the interview, everyone knows Miss Supp loves red! It was a rookie mistake) it was time for question 3. “What is your favorite animal?”This time, she quickly responded by saying “a giraffe!” I went right to the follow-up question that landed me previous success, “why?” She squinted her eyes. You could tell she was in deep, deep thought. I couldn’t wait! The anticipation was killing me! Would she bring up the beauty of a giraffe’s long and majestic neck? Would she marvel at the fact it’s the tallest land animal in the world? Is she amazed by the fact that giraffe’s tounges can reach over 45cm long? What was her reasoning? I had to know! “Why?” I spoke out with anxiousness, “Why?!” You could tell I had worn her down with my intense style of journalism because she came out with her answer. “Because, they go like this…moooooo!”

It was time for our another question. “Why do you love Jesus so much?” She simply smiled; I could tell this was an easy question for Miss Supp. She calmly replied by saying “because He loves us!” I too joined in with a smile after hearing this response. It was a great answer.

Finally, I was down to my last questions. I was gearing up to ask Miss Sawyer her thoughts on the current situation involving America’s economic climate, but before I could get another word out…she had to make a statement, “ok that’s it! No more!” She dashed away from the table faster than the average giraffe (which some are known to get up to 37 mph if you didn’t know). She had decided the interview was over. She went and poured herself a nice piping hot teacup full of imaginary coffee. As I sat at the table, wondering if I should consider that interview a success or not, I heard someone calling out to me from the distance. “Come on and have coffee with me!” I couldn’t believe my ears! It was Miss Supp; she was inviting me over for a beverage! I hurried over and sat down. She poured me a cup, and I have to say (off the record of course) it was the best cup of pretend coffee I’ve ever had.

Why my Mom will Never be my Friend

Well, this all started a couple of months ago when I simply asked my daughter to write a blog post for me ( I am always looking for featured writers). She, undoubtedly, refused and continued to assure me she would never write anything just for the sake of writing ( who does that?) Nevertheless, it came as a big surprise when I found this written note in my Christmas gift. I know! Who Knew! I was completely floored. ~Moms keep pressing on with those babies. God knows!

They say that as you get older the relationship between a mom and daughter will start to turn into a friendship, but to be honest, I hope that will never happen to my mom and me. In my eyes the title of mom is so much greater than the title of friend. A friend is someone you can walk through life and make mistakes with. A mom has already walked the path and looks back to try and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes. A friend is someone you can look in the eye and share your problems. A mom can tell you already have a problem with just one look. A friend gives her advice. A mom gives her wisdom. A Friend can fake it till they make it. A mom knows when it’s time to keep it real. A friend can say hateful words, hurt, and betray you. A mom is there for you every single day despite the hateful things you say.
My mom is the only person I can truly talk to in my life. I can finish her sentences (No, we aren’t twins because there is about a 30 year age difference between us.) and make her laugh. We know each other so well to the point we drive each other crazy. I encourage her to follow her dreams and she encourages me to follow mine. I will have many friends, a few good friends, and a couple of best friends throughout my life, but I will only have one mom who knows me like the back of her hand. The same hand she has used and continues to use to guide me through life. I don’t know about you but why would I want to give that amazingly special bond between my mom and I up to be just friends?

Written by Meranda Crosby