Category Archives: Homeschool

I Live With Animals

The following post was first published nearly 6 years ago, but nothing much has changed except location. We still live with animals; we still live in a house that’s never a showroom, and I’m once again at a computer on a Saturday morning. It’s just that this time I’ve got places to go and people to see … and messes to clean up 😉

Early Riser

Today I am up a little later than usual because it is Saturday. It is nearly 10 a.m. at the time of this writing and I am just now finishing an egg, cheese grits, and my first cup of black coffee (in my TTU mug).

I sat down at the computer for a few moments in order to study for tomorrow’s Proverbial Thought post on Proverbs 14:3. Then, as I read the next proverb, 14:4, an additional thought came to mind…

I live with animals, and I’m glad.

Furry and Furless

Animals. Now, when I say, “I live with animals,” don’t get the impression that I live in a barn, although barns are pretty nice if you remodel them. The animals I am referring to are not only the four-legged, flea-bearing, shoe-chewing canine types, but the 2-legged, child-bearing, shoe-buying female types.

Barns. Sometimes I really do think I am living in a madhouse. Other times I feel like I am living in a barn of the un-remodeled style. But most of the time I am cognizant (I went to college) of the fact that animals of all kinds make messes. Whether they be furry or furless, you can tell where animals live.

Qualifying “Messes”

Before I get into trouble, let me qualify what I meant by “messes.” My children, my wife, and I do not leave the same kind of messes lying around the house that our four-legged barn-guests are capable of. We know how to use our indoor plumbing.

The kind of mess I am talking about is just the stuff that comes as a result of living a hectic life. For example, clothes aren’t always put away; dishes get piled up; the kitchen table is a community desk, and a remote-controlled helicopter is in the china cabinet (that’s my fault…along with the clothes, dishes, and table).

But what if these messes weren’t there? What if everything in the house looked like a picture from Martha Stewart’s fake family album? Without at least some of the mess, home would be nothing more than a sanitary stable or a clean crib – and that could be bad.

Too Clean

Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.” The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” In other words, a clean stable might be nice, but that’s not always a good thing.

This proverb is trying to tell us that in order to have the grain to make a mess, you need the messer-uppers to harvest the grain. Without the messer-uppers in the stable there will be no harvest – so quit complaining.

A strong family is a family that lives like a family, not like legalistic representation of perfection. It’s nice to have a clean house, for sure. Yet, I would rather live with a bunch of animals (myself included) in a happy barn, than like a white mouse in a sanitary laboratory.

As soon as my wife and daughters read this, my funeral will be a simple affair.


Filed under animals, Do not judge, Homeschool, Relationships and Family

How Did I Do? The TRUTH Comes Out!

Mock Trial

This was the first year my daughter, Haley, competed in something called “Mock Trial.” In a nut shell, students from different public and private schools send students to compete in make-believe trials before actual judges, with actual layers as juries, in actual courtrooms.

Haley posing before entering the court room.

Haley posing before entering the court room.

The students are divided up into teams which work together through the season on a particular case. Each team member is assigned two characters to play, one when the team acts as the prosecution, another when they act as the defense. This seasons case was one involving a young woman being accused of vehicular homicide; Haley played a witness for the prosecution and an attorney for the defense.

On a side note, Haley is home-schooled, along with all of the other members of her team. Last night, when they competed against a very prestigious local private school (Baylor), the other team was shocked – they had never seen kids who home-schooled – they were amazed.

Anyway, mock trial is not simply a bunch of acting; it’s a real trial. Each participant must know the case, and the characters he or she brings to life, inside and out, and work as a team. The winners are the ones who can show that by literally being put on trial.

How Did I Do?

Sooooo…. Last night, on the way home, Haley asked me, “So, Daddy, how did I do?” I replied with, “Do you want me to tell you what I really think, or do you want me to answer you the same way you and your mother always answer me when I ask that question after I preach?”

Haley: Tell me what you really thought.

Me: Nah, I think I’ll just say what you always tell me after I preach, “It was good.

Haley: Oh, no you don’t! NO! Do you really want to know what I thought about Sunday night? Huh? Do you!?

Me: Seeeeee, there ya’ go! I knew it!

Haley: OK! FINE! You want to know what I thought about the message you preached last night (Sunday)? Fine, I’ll tell you! …You preached like an OLD WHITE GUY!

Shawn McBride

Shawn McBride

Pause for explanation… Last week Haley went with a youth group from another church to a youth camp in Ridgecrest, NC. The speaker that weekend was a lively, energetic, funny, African-American – in other words, a BLACK preacher. His name was Shawn McBride.

Now, I have never heard Shawn McBride preach, but in my defense, I have never had the opportunity to speak to a thousand+ youth at a retreat, either; large hoards of effervescent hormones are not my typical audience. How one preaches to a bunch of crumb crunchers is different from how one preaches to those with blue “handicap” decals hanging from the rear-view mirror of their cars.

Me: What? Well did he preach anything doctrinally deep enough to wade in? Or, do I need to make my points from a ladder on stage? (she said he used a ladder at one point)

Haley: Sure, your stuff was deeper, that’s true – but you still preached like an OLD WHITE GUY!

You really don’t need to know all I said about Haley and her “acting,” do you? Really, I was nice – after about a minute. Then I bought her a cheeseburger.

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. – Romans 14:4 ESV

We just have to do the best with what God gives us…even if we are OLD and WHITE!

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Do not judge, General Observations, Homeschool, Preaching

The Arrow Is Launched (My Daughter Is Going to College)

As a Parent

As a parent, it is very difficult to let my daughter go off to college.

Frankly, it feels like my heart is being ripped out, much like the first time my heart was broken by a girlfriend when she left me. It’s a painful feeling of loss, something that can never be cured, fixed, or done over.

Katie Baby Picture June 96Katie is my firstborn daughter. I was there at her birth…changed one of her first diapers…rushed her to the hospital when she was sick…threw a dog (Spot) across a room when he bit her…cried when she got injections…rejoiced when she accepted Christ…cheered her teams to victory and protested in defeat…cried again when I had to discipline her…listened with amazement at the first song she wrote…felt like a rock star when I played with her on stage…felt like an un-spiritual pagan when she spoke of her walk with God…bristled with anger when she got a boyfriend…and said, “That’s my girl” when she intimidated her own youth director at church.

Now, she’s grown up. There’s no more time. She’s leaving. My heart is breaking like never before. The pain is real.

As a Christian Parent

I once posted a comment on Facebook about my feelings. But the things people kept telling me had the same general theme: “She will be fine.”

IMG_3010Let me set the record straight. I KNOW she will be fine. I KNOW she will be OK. You don’t have to tell me that someone will be there at college to look after her, because I know darn well she can take care of herself! I am not worried in the least about her safety, her relationships, what she may or may not get into, or anything like that. She WILL be fine because she is prepared and God is with her. I am not going to worry. My problem is simply the fact that she is leaving.

But you know, that’s what children are supposed to do, right? They are supposed to leave, to get out of the nest, etc. What kind of parents would her mother and I be if we never prepared her to be a God-fearing adult? She was an arrow in my quiver, and now’s the time to let her fly.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. – Psalms 127:4-5 NKJV

As an Archer

Fellow parents, let me tell you exactly why I am not worried about my daughter, Katie. First, when she was just a baby, I dedicated her to the Lord. I covenanted with my wife to raise her in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” To the best of our ability, we have done just that.

Secondly, we have done with her as a warrior does with his arrows. We kept her safe and protected, just as the arrow is protected in the quiver. Just as the warrior makes sure the flights on his arrow are straight, we made sure she learned the Truth (John 14:6) so that she could navigate through the winds of life toward her specific target. Like the shaft of the arrow, we trained and molded her character. And like the all-important arrowhead, we made sure Katie was as sharp as possible, as effective as could be, to make her mark on whatever target was propped in front of her.

Katie with guitarNo, I am not worried; I am painfully proud. I have prepared a weapon for God’s glory, one that is now leaving the bow in flight toward her God-given goal. I have done all I can do, including aim her in the right direction. Now that she is on her way, I have complete confidence she will stay on course.

Train up a child in the way [she] should go: and when [she] is old, [she] will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Confront the “enemies in the gate,” Katie! Victory is yours!


Filed under Christian Maturity, Homeschool, Parenting, Relationships and Family


Favorite Photo

Just the other day Andy Britt graciously spent an entire day taking photos of my family. Should you need a good photographer, look him up.

But anyway, this picture has to be one of, if not my MOSTEST favorite! It captures the essence of everything I want to be as a parent. If ever my girls happen to glance over my shoulder to see what I’m reading, I hope they find me in God’s Word.

teaching the truth

By the way, the Bible in the photograph is mine. My finger is placed on Proverbs 1:7, which reads: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Other Verses

Maybe I posted this just to show off my favorite photograph…who can blame me? But on the other hand, can I share with you some other passages of Scripture?

  • Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
  • We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: – Psalms 78:4-6
  • And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4

Gentlemen, don’t waste an opportunity. Train’em now!

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

“As Isaac”

The Band

as isaacIt is not often that I take such a liking to a group, but As Isaac is a band that has really made an impact on me.

Not long ago my daughter told me of some kids that went with her to Precept Ministries. She told me they had a band and were going to have a concert celebrating the release of a their first CD. She asked, “Daddy, can we go?”

Well, the great thing was that they were performing at their home church just a few miles away over Lookout Mountain. We went, not knowing what to expect, but left knowing we had heard some seriously talented, humble tools of the Lord.

The Music

One song, written and sung by Rachel Kelly, brought chills the first time I heard it. The name of the song is Speak Lord. So, as you could imagine, I was totally thrilled to find out that the band had come out with a video.

Let me just tell you something that really impresses me about these guys (and girls)…it’s the lyrics. Beside being wonderful musicians, the words of the songs these young people sing show evidence of a deep walk with Christ. These aren’t kids who write fluff just so they can get on stage and rock the house. These are deep, spiritual young men and women of God who have experienced a real walk with their Creator.

Do me and yourself a favor – watch this video. Then, go check out their website and order their music. You will not be disappointed, believe me.


Filed under Homeschool, music, Uncategorized, worship

Women and Rubies (by Katie Baker)

Gettin’ out the word.

It would bless my heart if you would read my daughter’s latest post, “Women and Rubies.”

Women and Rubies.

Katie and Jeff Frankenstein (keyboardist, Newsboys)

Katie blogs at Shutter Elf. She takes wonderful pictures, but leaves great commentary. And to beat all, she is only 16!

Since Katie is relatively an unknown, a whole lot of people are missing out. Could you help me get out the word? If you like what she is doing at Shutter Elf, would you let her know, and then tell someone else?

Thanks, a lot!

Anthony (The Recovering Legalist)


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Filed under Christian Maturity, Homeschool, Relationships and Family, wisdom

A Night at Rock City

What does this video have to do with a recovering legalist? You will actually see me dancing! Really!

If you have never been to Rock City, then you need to go. But if you have never been to Rock City at night when it has been lit up for Christmas, then you are missing a treat.

This week Katie sang with her home school chorus at Rock City, so we went to watch and listen. However, one can only listen to so much Christmas music when there are elves begging to be talked to.

Rock City is on Lookout Mountain, which is in Chattanooga. However, Rock City is actually on the Georgia part of Lookout Mountain, just for your information.

And for the record, I never found my missing glove.

See Rock City


Filed under America, Christmas, Homeschool, places, Relationships and Family