Back in the summer of 2009, I went on a missions / outreach trip to Creel, Mexico. I led a group of 20 students and parents / leaders from Destiny Foursquare Church and partnered with Black Buffalo Global Ministries​ to work with them at their Aljaba Children’s Home and do an outreach with the Tarahumaran natives. It was the most amazing trip I had ever experienced cross-culturally to-date and I think back on the experience frequently. It was my last across-the-border trip as a youth pastor. See highlights from “I Heart: MEXICO” here.

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This Saturday, I am leaving for Honduras! It is kind of a last-minute opportunity for me — filling in for another individual that had to drop out unexpectedly. Financially, I couldn’t afford a trip like this right now, but the trip has already been accounted for, so it is truly an amazing blessing for me to get to be a part of this! We will be partnering with the beloved Tiffany Mares of Via Love International, who was sent out as a missionary from our church in January.

Honduras 2015 Team

And what’s better, the trip is with the amazing Echo ELN students! I love these guys. A lot! It’s going to be an incredibly life-changing trip! I can already tell.

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Would you agree with me in prayer as we get ready to depart this Saturday?

Read more about the trip over at NorthRockChurch.com.

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If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you’ve probably seen this picture from my 10th wedding anniversary trip to the west coast with Deanna. She’s not really a fan of this particular pic, but it’s one of my favorites because of our smiles. Pure joy. Complete happiness. We are in love.

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Here’s a more recent pic of my Love. We stayed up an extra day after our district conference in Keystone last fall. I love her. I mean, REALLY love her.

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We’ve been on the journey together for a long time. We started “officially” dating when I was fifteen; she was eighteen. I was a sophomore; she was a senior. This pic is of her graduation day from the School of Mines. I was smitten from the moment I met her in the line at a lunch buffet in Pierre, SD.

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She’s the definition of beauty for me. Nobody melts my heart like Deanna. How lucky am I that THIS girl is my wife?

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And she’s always been a diva. Haha! And I mean that in a good way. She knows what she likes and what she wants. :)

AND she has always been selfless, thinking about others before herself, even her little rescue dog, Wilma.

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Here was are as a young couple… and that’s our baby-girl, Bella. What a joy! :)

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Bath time with Bella. She has always loved her kids with her whole heart. Family is her life.

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Her smile can — and does — fill a room. Every time. Everywhere we go.

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Life is always an adventure with her. ALWAYS. And full of surprises. The kinds of surprises that I’ll never forget. And she always keeps me guessing — when is the next one coming? She’s simply the best.

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I can’t forget her eyes.

See? :)

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We’ve been best friends for years. She is my light and inspiration. And I’m not just typing words. I mean it.

Happy Pi Day. I want to go to infinity and beyond with you.

Happy 18th wedding anniversary, tomorrow!

I hope this is just the beginning of many more lovely and awe-inspiring years together with you. Love you with my life!

Isabella Is A TEENAGER!

Shawn Michael —  February 22, 2015 — Leave a comment

We got snowed in for Bella’s 13th birthday today, but thankfully we did get to celebrate together as a family this evening. We also had a little early birthday cake and gift-giving last week with her Grandpa and Grandma Shoup.

Her big gift this year is a big baby Taylor guitar and guitar lessons!

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To top the evening off, we had lots of friends and family chime in and give her some words of wisdom, well-wishes and encouragement, too…

If you want to send a video for Bella, too, send them our way now and we’ll be sure that she sees them! We are VERY THANKFUL for all the wonderful family and friends that Bella has in her life.

She has blessed us beyond measure and know that she will only continue to do so as she grows and matures into a young woman.

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I have been doing graphics design work — editing videos and building websites — my whole adult life as part of different roles in ministry and work with various organizations over the years. After having been asked to do several freelance projects, I have decided to offer my services more broadly. The last couple of weeks I have been working on setting up TheShawnShoup.com — basically a landing page for anyone wanting to hire me for graphics design, web, or digital storytelling work.

Shoup \ shop \ 1: to hunt through a market in search of the best buy  2: a handicraft establishment  3: Shawn’s last name

 

How original, I know. (grin) The idea was actually inspired by my brother who is already running a successful graphics design business on the east coast. Check him out at The GraphicShoup.com.

This won’t be a full-time endeavor, but a side-project that I’ll pursue with excellence. Please stop by and check it out.

Please do me a favor by liking and following my social profiles (Facebook here and Twitter here) and help us spread the word!

So, my daughter Kella is pretty special. She is 10-years-old right now. Last night, Deanna went to Kella’s 4th grade parent teacher conference and brought home this short story that she had written for an assignment. It made us both cry.

We are blown away constantly with the way Kella crafts her words. Mr. Garcia is planning on nominating her for the gifted and talented writing class next year.

Daddy Bird

by Mikella Shoup
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a picture Kella drew to accompany the story

 

 My dad and I are riding around Erie on a nice day of Autumn. Then, out of nowhere, I notice a soft, loud, beautiful and wonderful sound running through the gentle breeze. I slow down to hear the sound better and then I stop at the park.

“Let’s take a break,” I tell my dad anxiously.

“Okay,” my dad says, relieved for a break. He sits down while I wander around the park anxiously. I suddenly hear the pretty sound again. Then I see a lovely yellow bird skipping nicely from branch to branch happily as it sings the lovely sound I’ve been wanting to hear. It dances a ballet while singing it’s gorgeous song again and again. I just love that marvelous symphony racing in and out of my ears.

“Hmmmmm!” sings the bird. “Blummmmmmm!” hums the bird. I love it’s dazzling music and it’s yellowish-orange body. I like it’s orange beak. It’s clear-ish claws. It’s lovely soft feathers that shed from it’s body, and it’s perfectly spread out wings glowing in the sun. The bird looks so glamorous. So perfect. So dazzling!

That marvelous yellowish-orange bird reminds me of my dad, because, first of all, he is the one who brought me here to see things like this bird. Second of all, he likes the color orange and the bird is yellowish-orange. Thirdly, the bird is handsome like my dad. But the most important thing of all, the bird sings gracefully just like my dad.

The bird hums but my dad sings words. To me, that humming sound is music and words that only birds — and some people — can understand. To me, the bird is singing worship songs to God like my dad does at church, where he is the worship leader. To me, the bird is a worship leader to all of nature. I think the bird is singing songs to worship Jesus like “Silent Night,” “Away in a Manger” and “Happy Day.”

In my mind, I can see that bird in a big bird-church on Sunday, singing to God with all it’s birdy friends, listening and dancing. The bird hums it’s song and plays it’s musical leaves that play as the instruments. My dad plays the keyboard, but the bird plays the leaves. I will always remember my musical friend, dancing, singing and playing it’s musical leaves.

My dad might have not seen the bird, but they are similar.

Reading this reminds me that being a husband and a father is the most important thing I do. Nothing can trump showing love to my wife and kids.

My prayer today is, “God, help me to be the person she sees in me.” It’s better that way.