Category Archives: Parenting

Imperfect Me

Are any of you perfect? You might think you are, but I’d bet you’re not. I know I’m not. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty messed up.

Just today I was reminded how flawed I am. I’ve screwed up so much it ain’t even funny.

For one, I got into a heated argument with my wife which led me to say things in anger, things I wish I’d not said. Two, it was made obvious that I’ve made some poor decisions in parenting, some of which will haunt me till the day I die. Third, I’ve made some bad decisions in my past, and tonight I wish I could roll back time (cue the Cher music).

On top of all the above, I’m facing issues for which I have no good answers, and I’m not even sure there are any. Do you know how helpless that can make one feel?

Wednesday night I shared an impromptu sermon based on something I had written earlier in the day, and today I was reminded of it. I had been to the church parsonage and seen the work being done, took a picture, and wrote the following.

This a blessing to behold, and further confirmation that God is not only doing something now, but will be doing something more in the future to bring glory to the wonderful name of Jesus.

And to be honest, I’m as clueless as anyone to what plans the Lord has for this little old church, but plans He has. We are just going to be faithful, prayerful, worshipful, and hopeful (not with an earthly hope, but one that rests in His promises that never fail)!”

Faithful. Just keep doing what’s right, even when it’s hard. Don’t be like the one who gets inpatient and steps out in his own strength to accomplish what is not in God’s timing. The results of faithless action never produce a positive outcome. See Proverbs 28:20.

Prayerful. If Dory had been a Christian fish, she might have said, “Just keep praying, praying, praying.” Pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17).

Worshipful. God deserves our worship. But not only that, some of the Israelite’s greatests battles were won when, instead of swords and spears, the first line of offence – their Spec Ops Choir – carried trumpets and lyrics into combat.

Hopeful. Why be worshipful? Why praise? Because we have a hope that is different from the world’s kind, the kind that is more like wishful thinking – like, “Now that I’ve picked the numbers, I HOPE I win the lottery.” No, we can be hopeful in fact, because God’s promises, when made, are as good as done – actually, they’re already done – in Jesus (2 Cor. 1:20)!

I’m not perfect. I’m not a source of unfailing wisdom. I’m not the best husband, father, preacher, pastor, or anything. I have no clue how God is going to get glory from what He has planned to accomplish in my life, but I’ve read the first chapter of Ephesians, and one promise is that I’m going to bring him glory and praise (v. 12). It’s as good as done!

And, even though I feel pretty weak and helpless, He wants me to understand that what’s going to be accomplished will not be determined by my own ability, but His “exceeding greatness and power” which raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:18-20)!

So, even though I’m not perfect (which is an understatement), my faith is in One who is, and He keeps his promises (Prov. 22:6; Isaiah 55:11; Matt. 16:18).

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Depression, Life Lessons, Parenting, Relationships and Family, self-worth, worship

I’m Going To Be a Grandparent!

Unbelievably, the time is come for me to become a grandparent. My oldest daughter and her husband have made plans to adopt, so a grandchild is just around the corner.

#WestbrookPartyOfThree

But because we don’t yet know if it will be a girl or a boy, I don’t know if I’m going to become a grandmother or grandfather.

Congratulations, Josh and Alicia!

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First Day, Old Lesson

Today is the first day of school in Chattanooga, so back to the school bus I go. Therefore, in honor of all those who get behind the wheel of the big yellow machines, the following is a short adaptation from my little book, Life Lessons from the School Bus.


Crazy Obstacles

Back when I first trained to drive a school bus, all drivers were required to complete an obstacle course. I don’t know what they do these days, but one obstacle that I had to overcome it worth remembering – the tennis ball row.

The obstacle course was tough enough, but one test that we had to go through seemed totally off the wall. It was the last test, the last trial, the last obstacle of the day. All one had to do was drive a school bus across a parking lot, but without touching any tennis balls. What’s the catch?

The right side of the bus, front tire and rear tires, was to go between two rows of tennis balls, the spacing of which only left 2 inches of clearance. In other words, you only had at most 2 inches on either side of the widest part of the back tires. Touch a tennis ball and you have to start over. Go over the tennis balls – you fail.

Really, I could see how this exercise taught precision driving skills, but what was the point. When on earth was I supposed to encounter a bunch of yellow balls on the highway? Little did I know, a day would come when I would see first-hand the purpose for this lesson.

The Real Test

A few months into my driving career, I was asked to fill in on a route in the county. The route I was put on took me way out into farm country…tobacco country. After picking up a few kids, my directions led me down a gravel road, way out amidst acres of Kentucky no-man’s land. It wasn’t too long until I came upon a creek. The only way to get across the creek was to drive my 15 ton bus over a homemade, log and plank bridge.

You have GOT to be kidding me!” was the first words out of my mouth.

“No, this is the way we always go,” said the boy noticing the terror in my face.

Trembling in my driver’s seat, my muscles hardly willing to obey my brain’s idiotic commands, I slowly began my crossing. Middle of the way through, as the bus was slightly rocking back and forth, I could see that my tires were barely on the wooden planks that lay across the logs. Then it hit me – “That’s why they had us drive through those tennis balls!

The next thought that came into my mind was, “If they had told me what they were training me for, I would have found another job.”

Life Lesson

The reason for the lesson may not be obvious until the need for application.

“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” -James 1:3-4

Sometimes we are called by God to go through tests and trials which we don’t understand. What we need to realize is that God knows what is ahead of us, what bridges we may have to cross.

Let Him do what He must to train you for the road ahead. You may be the one responsible for carrying someone over to the other side.

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Parenting 301

I’ve heard it many times before, and I’ve even said it a time or ten myself, “Enjoy them while their young.” But as my children and I age, the truth of that statement becomes more profound with every day.

When they were young; when they were just wee little crumb-crunching Barney lovers; that was the time when we only thought we were pulling out our hair. Those were the days when babysitters were hard to find. Those were the days when milk got spilled and urine only leaked through diapers when you were wearing church clothes.

I’ve seen poor young moms, all frazzled and worn, look forward to the day when their terrible tikes could feed themselves, go to school, and go to the bathroom alone. Yet, if only those moms and dads could realize the physical stress of the moment is nothing compared to the emotional and spiritual stress of later years.

Those of you who still have small children, may I give you some sage advice? Those of you with children still at home, whether toddler or teen, will you listen to what I have to say?

Don’t waste a single minute, don’t even read to the end of this post, and get down on your knees and pray for your children.

I can’t tell you how much I wish I’d prayed more for my daughters. I can’t tell you how much my wife and I regret not praying for our girls every day, day after day, since before they were born. You might not be able to change the past, but would you change your future? Pray for your children!

We live in such an evil time, friends. Satan (I believe he is real) has never been more active in seeking the destruction of innocence. There is no way we can keep them from every danger, so we must intercede for them like their lives and souls depended on it…because they do.

We are in a war for the souls of our kids, and the only weapon proven effective in this conflict is the effectual, fervent prayers of righteous men and women. Are your prayers effective? Are they being fervently offered? Do you even care enough about your own life and character to be concerned if whether or not your prayers are being heard?

Again, we are in a war, a war of sedition, and the casualty rate is swallowing our sons and daughters!

Parenting 101 is easy stuff. Parenting 201 is the practical stuff. But Parenting 301, if there is such a thing, break your heart and bend your knees. If your not used to it, the fall to the floor is going to hurt – a lot.

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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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“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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Amaze me again

yo-yo-312175_1280I was watching a kid at my school doing some pretty amazing things with—are you ready for this??—a yo-yo!!  It was eye-popping cool!  Not just because of his skill, but because it was so retro as to be, not just “low-tech”, but “no-tech”.  (Never mind that the toy cost $150; that’s just wrong.)

I’m waiting breathlessly for the return of the hulu-hoop…but no personal videos will be posted for readers’ enjoyment.

If there is one thing that our technological advances have done to us, it’s the removal of a sense of awe from our children.  Not our younger ones, the little guys not yet totally exposed to the marvels of their i-phones, i-goggles, and whatever other virtual realities are bombarding their brains.  But certainly by the time I get them in middle school, it takes quite a Continue reading

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