Category Archives: Relationships and Family

Topics related to how we deal with the people God has placed in our lives.

Appetite for Comfort

It’s been nearly 5 years since I was “Freshly Pressed” on WordPress. This was the post that earned the honor. I hope it doesn’t make you too hungry for more 😉 

Comfort Food, That Is

There are some things in life that we always go back to when nothing else seems to do. It’s called comfort food.

Comfort food is the stuff that you want to eat when you’re depressed, when you’ve lost a limb, or when you’re girlfriend informs you that all along she has been an alien from Jupiter, and now she wants your brain to take back to her daddy.

Comfort food brings back fond memories of childhood and the “good-old-days” (unless you were a starving refugee), when Mom could make you feel better with nothing more than a spoonful of lard and some corn meal.

Comfort Central

Here in the southern United States we have a custom: when somebody dies, we eat.

Whenever a loved one passes away, bites the dust, or essentially assumes room temperature for an indefinite period of time, we trot them off to a funeral home, and then bring in every kind of unhealthy food imaginable. We all know that when one is suffering a terrible loss, comfort food will help dull the pain. And if nothing else, it will help you get to where your loved one is a little quicker than a salad will.

A typical southern funeral home has a dining area. This is where the family and friends can go when they are tired of standing around in the viewing room. They instinctively know that in that room is food which will make them feel better.

Serious Comfort

Well, not long ago my only blood-related uncle went home to be with the Lord. His body was taken to a funeral home in a place called Whitwell (pronounced “Wutwool“), Tennessee. And it was there that the funeral home staff did something that it does for all their families – serve homemade pinto beans.

Now, don’t be fooled, folks. These are not your ordinary beans. These are about the best pinto beans you will ever put in your ever-loving mouth! Served with some homemade cornbread, these beans made me tear up (no joke) as I remembered my granny, my dad, and a much, MUCH simpler life down on the river.

What makes these pintos so special is that they were soaked for 24 hours in water, then slow-cooked the next day in a crock pot with several slices of thick bacon. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but there are secrets to keep.

A Holy Command

Why do we prepare such food for funerals? Seriously? For one thing, sometimes it is hard to find the right words to say when someone is hurting. That’s when people do what they can, and many times the only thing they can do is prepare good food. Hurting people need to be cared for, and this is one way to show it.

Comforting one another is also something we are commanded to do. 1Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to “comfort yourselves together, and edify one another.” And speaking of the hope of resurrection we have in Christ, the Apostle Paul said in the same letter, “comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:8).

But what happens when words are hard to find? Make a pot of seriously savory pinto beans and cornbread. Tears of heartache may turn into tears of culinary joy.

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The Day After Father’s Day

Please forgive me if there are any grammatical or spelling errors in this post, but I am talking into my iPhone as I’m walking around in the rain (The seven can handle that kind of stuff, thankfully), waiting while a bus driver trainee is taking his test at the DMV. I had to bring a school bus down for him to test own, so I’m on the clock and writing a post at the same time. What do you think about that?

Anyway, today is the day after Father’s Day, and I wanted to share with you a thought or two that I had as I was standing in the rain.

Yesterday was a wonderful day, and I enjoyed preaching a great message that was very convicting for all men present, including myself. And I also enjoyed spending time with my daughters who I love very much. 

One of our daughters lives in Charleston South Carolina, so she’s not able to be here. But the other two were in church with me yesterday, and then later for a lunch which a church member graciously provided the money for. 

Last night we ate dinner at home, late, and that is when my two younger girls gave me the presents that they purchased (with their own money!). I have included a picture below.


My youngest daughter, Haley, procured for me the complete box sets of the first two seasons of the television program called “The Unit.” And by the way, that was a fantastic series of which I think they should have never canceled.

The other daughter, Katie, brought back something very unique from Norway. She found a wallet made from the skin of the Nordic moose! I don’t know how much she paid for it, but I know it had to cost more than something I would’ve gotten at Walmart.

After both presents had been opened, Haley asked a question which was very difficult, if not impossible to answer. She asked, “Which one is your favorite?” Now, I don’t know if she was being facetious, or if she was being serious, but my wife quickly answered for me: “That’s like asking which one of you he loves the most; he loves you the same, just differently.” 

This morning as I was thinking about the gifts my daughters got me, and the question Haley asked, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Cain and Abel. I couldn’t help but think of Sunday morning and our worship. I couldn’t help but think of how so often we wonder if God loves us more or less than someone else, simply because of what we have to offer. I thought about what it must be like to be God the Father – our Abba – after a Sunday has passed. 

One of those gifts cost a lot of money (relatively speaking), while the others probably cost a lot less. However, based on the means of each daughter, both were a sacrifice. In the same way, when we go to church to worship God, the gifts and offerings we bring may cost one person a lot more than it cost another. But who are we to judge whether or not those gifts that were given were sacrificial? We don’t know the heart of the child, nor do we know the heart of the Father. All we can surely know is that if the gifts were given out of love, then they are of equal value. More so, if the Father truly loves his children, which He does, there’s nothing that can compare to those gifts given by the children who love Him.

So, in conclusion, this is not only the day after Father’s Day, this is the day after Sunday. What gifts of love did you give your Father in heaven yesterday? I have no doubt they are giving him a smile today.

Happy day after Father’s Day!

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Filed under Church, God, Life Lessons, Love of God, Relationships and Family, worship

Ten Ways to Fail As a Father

Happy Father’s Day!

Lord willing, my sermon for Father’s Day will be from the book of Joshua…

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. – Joshua 24:15 KJV

There is a portrait of my family hanging in our living room with the above verse written below it. There is a lot to be said about a father who will say those words. There’s a lot to be said about a father who won’t.

Tuff Stuff

I don’t want to spend a lot of time writing a lengthy post, but I do want to leave you with a list I found in a sermon by a Wesleyan pastor, Bruce Howell. I don’t know if he came up with it or if he found it somewhere else. All I know is that it is convicting.

There will be a lot of people talking about how to be a better dad, but if you want to know how to fail, here are 10 sure-fire ways to screw up.

Ten Ways to Fail As a Father

1. Have fights in front of your children. Then when guests come, turn around and act affectionate toward one another.
2. Stifle your children’s questions by saying, “Don’t bother me now; I’m busy.”
3. Take no interest in your children’s friends. Let them run around with whomever they choose.
4. Never discipline your children; try to use psychology instead.
5. Nag them about their schoolwork; never compliment them on their achievements.
6. Demonstrate your love for them with material things. Give them everything their little hearts desire.
7. Never discuss the facts of life with them. Instead, let them learn about sex from their friends, public school, or pornographic literature.
8. Set a bad example so the children will not want to grow up to be like you.
9. Absolutely refuse to believe it if you are told that your children have done something wrong.
10. Let your children make their own choices in the matter of religion. Be careful not to influence them in any way.

Help us, Father God, to be more like you.


UPDATE: This morning I decided to add the outline I will be using today. Feel free to use it or share it.

TEN WAYS TO FAIL AS A FATHER

  1. Have fights in front of your children. Then when quests come, turn around and act affectionate toward one another.
    1. Be one – John 17:11 “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may beoneas we are.”
    2. Demonstrate Love consistently – “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” – Ephesians 5:25 “…and be not bitter against them.” – Colossians 3:19
    3. Don’t be a Hypocrite! – Matt. 23:27 “Woe unto you…”
  2. Stifle your children’s questions by saying, “Don’t bother me now; I’m busy.”
    1. Suffer the little children to come unto me – Lk18:16 “for such is the K. of God”
    2. Come boldly before the throne – Rom. 8:15 “We’ve not received a spirit of bondage unto fear…but…spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father.” 4:16, “Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need.”
  3. Take no interest in your children’s friends. Let them run around with whomever they choose.
    1. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. – James 4:4 KJV
    2. Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hathfriends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
  4. Never discipline your children; try to use psychology instead.
    1. Spare the rod, spoil the child (Prov. 3:12; 13:24; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:17; Heb. 12:6-8)
  5. Nag them about their schoolwork; never compliment them on their achievements.
    1. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17 KJV
  6. Demonstrate your love for them with material things. Give them everything their little heart’s desire.
    1. God does say “No.” 2 Cor. 12:7-9; Jer. 29:11
  7. Never discuss the facts of life with them. Instead, let them learn about sex from their friends, public school, or pornographic literature.
    1. Created with purpose

  8. Set a bad example so the children will not want to grow up to be like you.
    1. “Take up your cross and follow me” (Luke 9:23)
  9. Absolutely refuse to believe it if you are told that your children have done something wrong.
    1. “All have sinned…” (Rom. 3:23)
  10. Let your children make their own choices in the matter of religion. Be careful not to influence them in any way.
    1. “But as for ME and MY HOUSE, WE will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:15)

Since its first publication many years ago, over 30 million copies of Charles M. Sheldon’s book In His Steps have been sold. In it Sheldon gives this testimony:

“In a log house on the prairie my father taught me to love the Bible. After breakfast every morning, the family would have a devotional time in the parlor. Each of us had a Bible of his own. Father would read two verses out loud from the chapter of the day. Then mother would read two verses and each of us would read two. Before five years were over, we read the whole Bible five times. I think I am the only man alive who has heard the whole Bible read five times. We never skipped, not even those long lists of worthies who begat one another. The minute we finished Revelation, father calmly turned back to Genesis and we went at it again. I want to repeat that my father taught me to love the Bible as the greatest book in the world. 

After we had read the Bible passages for the day, we would sing a hymn and then all kneel down while father offered the morning prayer. We are Scotch-Irish, and naturally father prayed as long as he liked. And he would often pray for us by name.

When I finally left home to go down East to college, I would often be tempted to do what some of the college boys did—swear, gamble, go to the bars, etc. Just as I was about to give way to my desires, I would hear my father’s morning prayer in the log house. It was enough to keep me from falling away from God.”

Gentlemen, we’ve got a job to do. 

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Father’s Day / Anniversary Combo

Blended Celebrations

I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly like combined celebrations. Some people have the misfortune of being born on the 25th of December, and I’m sure they understand what I’m talking about.

For me, tomorrow is Father’s Day, but at the same time it will be my 23rd wedding anniversary. What were we thinking? And that’s not just me talking – that’s what my wife said!

Seriously, how am I supposed to enjoy reveling in the grandeur of the fact that, yes, I am the “World’s #1 Dad,” while at the same time focusing my attention on how wonderful my wife is? I’m not that good at multi-tasking!

Not About Me

But in reality, what would make me a better dad and husband than to forget about my celebrations and focus on my wife? If I really cared about myself, being selfish is the last thing I should be.

In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. – Ephesians 5:28 NLT

Father’s Day is a day we should, by all means, celebrate fathers, especially the good ones. But what kind of husband would I be if I let tomorrow be all about me? Heck, I wouldn’t even be the dad I am if it weren’t for the godly woman who’s stayed by my side for the last 23 years!

Without Valerie I wouldn’t be a father, nor would I have the opportunity to be a great dad. Without my precious wife picking me up from the floor all those times I wanted to give up, I wouldn’t be a dad; I’d be dead.

To accept the trophy of exceptional fatherhood without giving credit to my wife would be like winning an Oscar without thanking one’s directors and producers. I had the raw talent, but Valerie has been able to draw it out of me.

More Posts

I am going to be publishing a few more posts today and tomorrow. To be honest, there’s a lot I want to cover in relation to both fatherhood and marriage, but putting it all in one post would be too much. So, be on the lookout for those.

However, before I close this post out, let me just add that if it weren’t for the Lord, neither my marriage nor the blessed gift of fatherhood would have even been possible.

  • It was my God that allowed me to grow up with a faithful, consistent, godly earthly father who set the example for me.
  • It was my God who brought Valerie and I together way back in 1992.
  • It was my God who has kept Valerie and me married ever since June of ’94.
  • It was my God who gave us children.
  • It was my God who made a way when there seemed to be no way.

So, I guess I am looking forward to tomorrow, for more reasons than one. 

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Marriage, Relationships and Family

“Dad” A Guest Post by Dorissa Vanover

There are many deadlines approaching, and I would appreciate your prayers. Therefore, I will be posting more guest posts this week and following, To all of your who are submitting posts, thank you for helping out!

This week will feature posts in honor of Father’s Day.


Guest Post by: Dorissa Vanover

He was my very first dancing partner. Giggling, I watched him as he twirled my mom around the living room. I knew my turn would come. And it always did.  He would smile at mom, take a step toward me and guide me into a two-step or a waltz. We’d laugh at my mis-steps and keep right on going. My mom and brother sometimes plowed right into my dad and me with their own dance moves. The little bumps didn’t matter though. We all knew we were meant to dance!

Dad was an upbeat, contented family man. He enjoyed spending time with my mom, my brother, and me. From him, I learned to treasure my family and friends and to make the most of each moment.

He was an unusually happy morning person. Unlike my dad, it takes me a while to get going in the mornings. I remember, so many times, waking up on school days when Dad would turn on the light and say, “Good morning, Sunshine!” or “Rise and shine!”  I just wanted him to hush and go away so I could bury my head under the covers a few minutes longer. If it was a weekend and we were going out of town to visit family, he’d say, “Get up now.  We’re burnin’ daylight!” He liked to get an early start on our weekend outings.

Dad must have convinced mom that mornings were happy times because they would get up very early, drink coffee, and play Wahoo (a marble game). We’re talking 5 or 5:30 am! Nobody wakes up ready to play a board game that early!  But my dad did.

He taught me to appreciate the mornings and the blessing of waking up to each new day.  I still don’t play Wahoo at sunrise, though.

Dad loved to get in the car and go. Driving to Kansas to visit relatives could take several hours more than the rest of us anticipated. We might as well not be too anxious to get to our destination because Dad was enjoying the ride.

If he saw a little farm house “just down that road a bit,” and he wanted to see it close up, that’s where he’d go. He became famous in our family for his detours. Sometimes, he got us all lost; but never for too long. We always wound up where we intended – just later than if he’d taken the direct route.

Those trips became good times for driving lessons for my brother and me. Dad would sit back in the passenger seat, close his eyes and off we’d go.  We knew he wasn’t sleeping and he’d help if we needed him to, but he also let us know he trusted us — and felt very confident that he had taught us well. Patient mom ― in the backseat hoping we really did know how to drive!

I loved those trips and I loved my dad for making them so much fun.

Dad worked hard to provide for us. He enjoyed his work and was thankful to have it.  He’s the one who taught me to like Mondays. It didn’t matter to him that most people rated Mondays pretty low on their list of favorite days. Every day had its own special joy and Mondays were no different.

Every night, he came through the front door whistling; glad to see us, happy to be home, and ready for an evening of family time. Our meals were at the same time each night. We’d take our places at the table, bow our heads for the blessing and visit about our day as we enjoyed the meals mom prepared. Sometimes, he would tell my brother and me, “Let’s give mom the night off and do the dishes for her.”  I imagine Mom loved those nights!

If my brother or I asked, Dad helped with homework.  Patiently, he explained math problems or quizzed us for an upcoming exam.

Sometimes, we’d all sit in the living room together and watch television.  There were three channels and all of the programs were “family friendly.”

Our home was cozy, comfortable, and secure.

Dad was of medium height and build, but he was always “bigger than life” to me.  As a very young girl, I knew if I needed anything, he would see that I had it. If I was in danger, he would protect me. Of course, he was my hero.

Once, during a tornado warning, we were at the park watching my brother play in a baseball game. One of my aunts was visiting us at the time. She was not accustomed to the shrill sounds of the sirens and she was absolutely terrified of tornadoes. On our way home, my aunt was so visibly upset that I became scared, too. When Dad got us all to our house and my aunt safely inside, he sat me down and said, “Sister, there is nothing for you to be afraid of. I will take care of you as long as I can, and when I can’t, God will.”  He was so calm and his voice so comforting that I immediately relaxed.

I’ve heard it said that an earthly father who is loving, compassionate, and kind makes it easier to comprehend the love of a Heavenly Father with those attributes. I knew my dad cherished me and he taught me to believe that my Heavenly Father treasured me even more.

As an adult, he often told me, “Sister, you’re pretty special.”  I always felt special when I was with my dad.

He entered his heavenly home in 1999. I am so thankful that God blessed me with such a wonderful dad.  The memories of him and the joyful times we shared always make me smile.

So, until we meet again, “Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  I love you with all my heart!”

 

 

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If I Were a Mother

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! Especially to all of you who are mothers in one way or another.

I mean, not everyone has literally given birth; some mothers are adopted 😉

Nevertheless, I would like to say that I wish my mother and my grandmother a very happy day!


I wanted to write something a little different this year, even though I will still include the annual “Mother’s Day Song” at the end.

If I were a mother – and no amount of sex changes will ever make that happen – and, no, I’m not having a sex change – what kind of mother would I be? How would things be different?

1) Laundry

If I were a mother, I would make all my kids do their own laundry, and I wouldn’t care what color everything turned out in the end. I mean, if the kids want to have clean clothes, they wouldn’t need to come whining to me when they are the ones who get them all dirty and store them under the bed.

If I were a mother and a wife, however, my husband would always have clean, pressed laundry ready and placed out for the next work day. I would get up early before my husband – about 4 a.m. – and make sure his wardrobe for the day was place where he could find it, each part in the order in which it was to be put on.

Also, if I were a mother and wife of such a good man as the one I would marry, I would encourage him to toss his underwear and socks anywhere in the bedroom. I wouldn’t play games on my iPhone or computer, so this would allow me a little challenge each day. Yay!

2) Driving. Chauffeuring, etc.

If I were a mother, I would expect my husband to provide me with the best vehicle he could afford. What he drives would not concern me, but if I’m gonna be doing all the running around – if that’s what I do – then I’d better be in a nice Toyota Sienna Limited mini-van.

Now, with regard to the kids and all their spur-of-the-moment appointments, play dates, ball games, competitions, and whatever, I would expect some form of compensation – if they can’t drive, then they must pay. Where will they get the money? Heck, my girls went door-to-door selling dandelions and other assorted weeds, so any kid can earn money.

If my husband was tired, however, I would always let him lean back in the heated leather seat, or under his personally-selected temperature setting (hot or cold), and rest while I drive.

3) Cooking.

If I were a mother, I would make sure every meal was prepared from the freshest produce and hand-selected meats, daily procured from the local market. I would never serve the same recipe twice, except when requested.

As a wife, I would always make my husband’s favorite foods, even if the rest of the family ate something different. He would always have something at the table he is guaranteed to love, even if the children hate what I make.

Also, I would search the internet on a regular basis to come up with the most unique recipes for church socials – I must make all the husbands jealous of my husband, you know.

4) Giving Birth.

If I were a mother, I would make becoming a mother something enjoyable. I would never curse at my husband while I was in labor, either. I would never blame him for my pregnancy and accept all the blame myself. I would also ask my husband’s opinion on breathing, pushing, taking selfies.

If I were a mother I would hold all my children responsible for any and all pain and discomfort they inflicted on me.

But, I’m NOT a mother…

…or a woman, or a wife…not even the Caitlyn Jenner kind.

So, I can’t even imagine what life would be like without the wonderful mothers in my life, especially my wife who’s truly a gift from God.

I’m glad I’m a man, and a dad, and a husband… because being a mother would be more than I could handle – and the kids would probably die of disease and starvation.

Now, as Promised…

The Mother’s Day Song 

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Which Would Make Your Mother Happier?

Sunday is Mother’s Day!

I have only one question for you:

Which of the following statements would make your mother more happy?

  • “Mom, I’m going to go to church, today.”
  • “Mom, in honor of you I decided not to go to church.”
  • “Mom, I heard a filthy joke, today. Want to hear it?”
  •  “Mom, I heard a great sermon today about mothers. Can I tell you about it?”

Why not go to church on Mother’s Day and find out 🙂

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