Tag Archives: Family

Going Home

A Change of Plans

This morning I had planned on writing about a silly dream analyst I saw on Dr. Oz (totally pathetic). I had even contemplated writing a piece actually defending …da, da, da… Joel Osteen (yes, I know that’s a shocker). But when I sat down at the computer and took a minute to scroll through recent posts on Facebook, I saw a video, and wept.

However, it is the reason for the tears that I wanted to share a video with you. Yes, I cried tears of happiness for all those little children, wives, and moms and dads who were reunited with their brave dads, husbands, and sons. But I also cried for another reason – the anticipated reunion I will have with my own dad.

Funerals

I have preached many funerals. I have seen many loved ones laid to rest in the cold earth. People have looked to me for comforting words as I have stood beside the lifeless body of a recently passed loved one. All I can tell you is this: the only hope I can offer is the hope found in Jesus Christ.

In the 1 Corinthians 15:19, the apostle Paul said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” So, to put it another way, if trusting in Jesus is only good for this world, like for making you a better person, then what’s the point? Why follow a dead man to the grave?

Real Hope

But Paul adds in the next verse: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” In other words, trusting in Jesus means that this life is NOT all that there is…that we will one day be reunited with our loved ones…and Jesus’ resurrection is the PROOF!

It has been over 20 years since I last saw my dad face-to-face. I never had the chance (except in a dream) to say goodbye. So let me assure you, when I set foot on those celestial shores…when I breath that sparkling air…when I finally reach Home…there is going to be a celebration like this world has never seen.

That’s why I cried.

 

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Filed under Christian Living, Faith, Future, salvation, the future

Thursday Thoughts (Cars, Stress, and Dead Actors)

Good Thursday, everyone! I hope that you are looking forward to a wonderful weekend starting with a wonderful Friday. And no matter how many times I say the name of that day, I think of the song by Rebecca Black.

So, before it is too late and this post has to become a “Forgetful Friday” edition, let me leave you with some random Thursday thoughts.

1. I don’t like new cars. New cars and all their technology have progressed beyond my comfort zone. The newest automobile I have ever owned was a 2005 model. Do you realize how much has changed since then? I don’t even know what most of the buttons on a new car do! There’s nowhere to play a cassette tape, either!

Owner’s manuals used to be something only for those who couldn’t change a tire without instructions, but not any more. Now the new owner’s manuals come with a diploma once completed. Do I sound like an old man?

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Checking out a vehicle we didn’t buy. Still looking.

2. Shopping for an automobile is stressful. Honestly, I can think of only a handful of things that can lead a couple any closer to the brink of divorce than shopping for a new car. It is far worse, too, when all we can afford is one vehicle. Can you guess who has to be the happiest with any decision? Can you guess who will not get something that has even one tiny little testosterone hormone stashed under a seat? Pure stress, I tell you! Pure stress!!

As much as a hate the idea of a totalitarian system of government, there is something to be said of a country that allows only one kind of car to be made and sold to its people. But then again, couples would fight over the color, if not the scent of the air freshener.

3. Some old actors died. Did you hear that Russell Johnson (the Professor on “Gilligan’s Island”) died today? He was 89! And did you hear that Dave Madden, the man who played Reuben Kincaid (the manager) on “The Partridge Family” died? He was 82! Isn’t it amazing how reruns on television make us think these guys are still as young as they were back in the 1960′s and ’70′s?

DAVE MADDEN

Dave Madden, 1973

By the way, did you know that Dave Madden was one of the voices on Focus On the Family’s children’s radio program, “Adventures in Odyssey?” He was the voice of Bernard Walton, and he will be missed.

They always say famous people die in “threes.” If that is so, I wonder who will be next? I have my guesses. Do you?

Please pray that we will find a car, SOON!

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Filed under blogging, General Observations

The Non-Boyfriend Boy Friend

Girls

Here I am, 46 years into my trip toward room temperature, and I am still having to deal with girls’ emotions. I have been coming to terms with not understanding women, or at least knowing when to stay away when they feel like expressing their intelligence. And nearly 20 years of marriage has conditioned me for another 20 years of “whatever’s” and “yes dears.” So why now, after I have paid my dues, must I once again deal with teenage girls?

My dating years were not the best of years. My self esteem was irreparably scarred by the time one of my first dates asked me to drop her off early…in a parking lot…alone. Girls were like a fire to which I was drawn, and I was the helpless bug continually getting squashed. Therefore, since I am convinced teenage girls are hosts to alien invaders, why must I be forced to give aid and comfort to the enemy of mankind?

If I had to guess, part of the curse of the Fall was having to raise teenage girls. You can’t live with them, and you can’t ______ (you fill in the blank – I’m not going to incriminate myself) their boyfriends.

Boyfriends

I was once a boyfriend, and I hated myself for it. That is why I think it is my responsibility to guide other young men away from my daughters. Being a boyfriend is the last thing they should want to be. Staying away is best thing they can do.

However, what I find troubling is the attempt my daughter is making to fool me. She insists that her friend, a boy, is not a boyfriend. Yet, whenever a letter comes in the mail (in between the 42,584 texts), she grins and squeals as she reads it over and over. She invites him over to bake for him on his birthday and have pictures made together with their cheeks touching each other’s goofy faces. Believe, where there is chocolate, followed by physical contact of any kind, I am not fooled.

Between the Lines

So, tonight I made a comment that got Katie asking me all kinds of questions. In casual conversation, my so-far-alien-free daughter, Haley, asked, “When Katie and ____ (insert name or expletive, doesn’t matter) get married…” Excuse me?

That’s when I interrupted with, “She is not gonna marry _____.”

My single, unmarried, unspoken-for, and alien-inhabited daughter, Katie.

My single, unmarried, unspoken-for, and alien-inhabited daughter, Katie.

Later, when I was sitting at the computer, Katie came to kiss me goodnight and asked, “Why did you say I couldn’t marry ______ (insert name of endangered species)?”

Correct me if I am wrong, but was I not told that the non-boyfriend was just a friend? Then why would my statement about who she’s not going to marry be an issue? If my dad had told me I wasn’t going to marry my friend Kevin, it wouldn’t have hurt my feelings one bit. So what’s the deal with endangered boy and daydreamer?

If she marries he-who-walks-on-thin-ice, then I’ll be forced to like him. Until then, what’s wrong with simply protecting a non-boyfriend from a danger he can’t understand? Who knows? If I spare him from being abducted by an alien, I might be the best friend the non-boyfriend boy friend could ever have.

He will thank me, later.

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Defining Marriage, Future, Life Lessons, Parenting, Relationships and Family, wisdom

Happy Birthday to Me!

Horn, be thou tooted!

Yes, it is my birthday. Gifts of all denominations (that means money, not Methodists) will be accepted. You can also send watches, old books, Martin guitars, Jaguars, Mustangs, autographed pictures of Ronald Reagan and Zoey Deschanel, and/or iPads.

Really, I am happy to be 46 years old, which is four years shy of half a century. Some people are older than me, but a lot are younger – many of which are stupid. Did I just say that? Yes, I did. It’s because I’m getting older and old people can say what they want.

Facing Mortality

In all seriousness, today is a day which I have been fearing for the last 22 years. When I was 24 my father died (coincidentally, he was 24 when his dad died). He was 46 years old. Now, on this momentous day, I am as old as he was when he went home to be with the Lord. Sobering, isn’t it?

My dad.

My dad.

Even though it is sobering, if not a little depressing, the though of being as old as my dad was when he died has caused me to reflect on my life. It has also caused me to think more about my wife and children who, if they had been like me 22 years ago, would only have me around six months longer.

If I die this year – and I hope I don’t, believe me! – at least my wife and kids will have insurance money, a collection of recordings of me preaching and singing, and a lot of written words. However, they won’t have ME.

That is why I don’t drive as recklessly.

That is why I am thinking more about my diet.

That is why I am beginning to work out.

That is why my journal entries are becoming more pensive, thankful, and less gripey.

That is why I am trying to make sure I live the way I want to be remembered.

More than ever, I want to finish well.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Life Lessons, Parenting, Relationships and Family

Bathroom Battle Plan?

Times A’Chang’n

Did you hear about the new law in California? Governor Jerry Brown signed AB1266 into law and made California the first state (?) in the country to allow children to decide which restroom, locker room, or shower room they want to use – regardless of gender.

Yes, if little Billy feels like he wants to be a little Sally, he can decide to use the girls’ showers after he plays on the Lady Lion’s volley ball team. If little Suzie wants to be a little Bobby, she can squat at a urinal along side the other “guys.” It’s all up to how the child in question views his or her (or whatever fits the mood) self.

Things NOT Changing

My girls have always been taught to watch out for perverts and predators. In any other situation, if a boy were to enter a place where girls were indecent he would get arrested. My girls would never scream at a man on the street, even if he was dressed as a woman. However, if that man were to walk into the bathroom, they’d scream their heads off. Unfortunately, in today’s climate that would be considered discrimination. As a matter of fact, San Fransisco Assemblyman Tony Ammiano’s office issued a statement that read, “Discomfort is not an excuse for discrimination.

Go ahead, boys, walk into her bathroom and you’ll learn what “extreme prejudice” really means.

Well, even though the laws might be changing, what I teach my daughters won’t: boys are boys and girls are girls. If a boy walks into a locker room or shower when my girls are there, they have the right, if not obligation, to save the boy the expense of a sex-change operation.

And here is something else, boys of all ages and shades of makeup. If…IF you decide to enter my daughters’ locker room while they are exposed, and IF they don’t permanently deprive you of the ability to reproduce, I WILL! I don’t care if you think you are a girl, or not. I WILL discriminate, and I WILL make you VERY uncomfortable.

NOTE: Save the hate mail. I’m not even going to allow it. It’s my blog, my daughters, and I’m not going to stand for this ungodly lunacy.

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Filed under Culture Wars, General Observations

Monkey Survived

He Survived!

I was so worried, but Mr. Monkey came through the wash without falling apart. Washing a family heirloom is not something I do very often, especially 30 year-old puppets.

You see, I took Mr. Monkey with us to the beach in South Carolina. There he experienced getting buffeted by the salty waves crashing onto the shore. Fortunately, he didn’t need sunscreen.

The only problem is that Mr. Monkey came out of the wash fine, but ended up looking like he got a “perm” after only a few minutes in the dryer. He’s still a little damp, so he’s just hanging around, for now.

Well, signing off again from the WordPress iPhone app. Have a great Thursday!

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Filed under animals, blogging, Monday Monkey

Washing Monkey

I’m not sure about this.

I just did something that is making me sick. I just put Mr. Monkey in a washing machine.

Even though this is supposed to be one of those fancy machines, I’m still nervous – very nervous. My wife told me there is nothing inside the machine to hurt him, and with the setting set for “delicates,” it should be OK. I hope so.

I’ll never forget that look if something goes wrong.

My dad bought this monkey back in 1983. That means Mr. Monkey is 30 years old! Who puts a 30 year-old family artifact in a washing machine?!

Here we are in Charleston, SC at my daughter and son-in-law’s house. I’m using my iPhone to make this post and thinking of the footage I filmed for next week’s Monday Monkey. Was that Mr. Monkey’s last episode? Oh, I hope not!

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Filed under blogging, Monday Monkey

19th on the 18th

Our Anniversary!

Last year I wrote a post celebrating 18 years of marriage to the most beautiful woman in the world, my wife. Now that another year has come and gone, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate again. I’m so glad Valerie and I are still together, which is a blessing and a miracle. I don’t deserve such a gift.

Valerie has asked me several times in the past, “If you could do it over again, would you still marry me?” To be honest, there were times when answering that question was difficult, especially back around 1999-2001. During those days I was going through the lowest time of my life, but she stood by me.

If Valerie was to ask me that question today, however, the answer would be a resounding “YES!”

It takes time!

So many people get divorced after a few years of marriage, never staying in it long enough to work through the hard times. In doing so, they miss out on the treasures that years of faithfulness bring. Because they give up too early, they uproot seeds before they have time to germinate, never being able to experience the fruit of a life-long relationship taking root.

The past year has brought with it many heartaches and sorrows. Valerie has had to endure much physical pain which has tested our faith and pushed us to the limits; the loss of income has been terribly stressful; and crisis after crisis has taken an emotional toll on us all. Yet, after 19 years we are more in love, more in faith, and more in God’s will than ever before. How is that possible? “It’s not by power, nor by might, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord.

I love you, Valerie. Happy anniversary!

As I said last year, it’s been a bumpy but wonderful ride. Thank you for staying in the car with me. I’m looking forward to the rest of the trip!

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Filed under Christian Living, Defending Traditional Marriage, Defining Marriage, Divorce, Life Lessons, Relationships and Family, the future

Happy Mother’s Day

My Mother

It may come as a shock to all of you, but I do have a mother. Yes, there is a woman who claims responsibility for allowing me to come into the world.

My mother’s name is Marie. I won’t tell you how old she is, but she’s older than me. She is also not in the best of health, so your prayers would be appreciated.

DSC_0065My mother worked in the blood bank and lab at Erlanger Hospital for 46 years until she retired. She started working there when blood was still in black and white, long before most of the modern staff was even born. She went to college for four years to learn how to do a job that few today can do without computers.

My mother is also a godly woman who has read through her Bible countless times, verse by verse, circling the number each time. She is also the widow of a godly man who loved her. She never remarried.

Mother’s Day Song

There are a lot of songs celebrating Christmas, but few celebrating mothers. Therefore, last year I decided to write my own song for Mother’s Day.

I hope it brings honor to the woman who birthed me, beat me with a belt, and bears me up with her prayers. If you like it, sing it to your mother or grandmother. Even if they don’t like it, they will say they do – that’s what mothers do.


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Filed under Christian Living, Parenting, Relationships and Family, Uncategorized

Childhood Wisdom?

Listen to the Children

I will never forget a commercial I saw on television. It was a long time ago, and I still get irritated. The main line that was repeated over and over was, “Listen to the children.”

Oh, it was one of those environmental, tree-hugging commercials that had little kids instructing adults how to live their lives. One little girl would say something like, “Don’t make me starve,” while another little boy would go on about how eating at McDonald’s would ruin the earth’s water supply – or something like that.

Anyway, every time a toddler would voice her scripted opinion a deep, male voice would echo in response, “Listen…to the children.” Yes, adults should listen to a 5-year-old because of her years of accumulated wisdom untainted by experience.

What Do they Say?

If we to listen to the little crumbcrunchers long enough, we will hear things like:

  • screaming kid“I don’t want to eat that, Mommy! I want cake!”  Listen…to the children.
  • “I don’t want to take bath!” Listen…to the children.
  • “If I was president, I would make everybody happy and would never have school and make parents buy every kid a unicorn and never have to go to bed and make the world like warm all the time with snow all year.”  Listen…to the children.
  • “O – ba – ma! O – ba – ma!”  Listen…to the children echo their teachers.

AND did you know that children have figured out the whole gender (man/woman) thing? Believe it or not, according to the kids on my school bus, girls are smart, but boys are stupid. Here’s how they describe the difference:

Girls go to college to get more knowledge.

Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider.

Girls go to college, but boys go to Jupiter. Hmmm…may we ponder that for a moment?

  • What type of intelligence was required to put man on the moon?
  • Methane and ethane make up a tiny proportion o...What type of brain power was needed to land an un-manned rover on Mars?
  • What kind of genius will it require to send man four times the distance to the sun in order to view up-close the deadly storms of Jupiter?
  • Stupid boys can go to Jupiter while girls are still fighting over who should be sorority president – and who’s stupider?

Train ‘Em

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I gather from this verse that it is therefore the responsibility of the older, wiser, more responsible parent to teach the child.

They should listen to us. But what are we teaching?

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Parenting, Relationships and Family