Tag Archives: Family

The Other Things I’m Thankful For

Now that the holiday is about over, I’m sure you’ve heard all the normal lists of things for which we all should be thankful.

Like many others, I led prayer before today’s over-the-top gastronomical celebration, directing all present to give thanks for grace, mercy, family, freedom, and a host of blessings we don’t deserve. I even led us to remember those less fortunate during this joyful time. 

Therefore, since you’ve already heard thanks for the usual blessings, let me close out this Thanksgiving holiday with a list of other things I’m thankful for. 

  1. Zip-lock baggies. 
  2. Cell phone service with no roaming fees. 
  3. Coffee. 
  4. Antibiotics. 
  5. DVR’s. 
  6. I’m not a vegetarian. 
  7. Modern dentistry. 
  8. Safe drinking water. 
  9. Bluetooth. 
  10. Inexpensive firing ranges. 
  11. Baby powder. 
  12. A wife that hasn’t give up on me. 
  13. New Star Wars movies. 
  14. Background noise apps on my phone. 
  15. Daughters who still believe in me. 

OK, so #12 and #15 are from the “normal” list, but I couldn’t help it. 

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. – Psalm 106:1

My daughter Katie’s first apple pie. A work of art!

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Filed under America, Thanksgiving

Five Years of Monkeying Around

The Notification

This morning I received a sweet little notification from Facebook. It was little reminder of a video I made introducing the “Monday Monkey” segments to my blog.

Sometimes these Facebook notifications are fun. Other times they depress me. I don’t know how to interpret this one. 5 years? Has it really been that long? Then, on the other hand, 5 years ago seems like an eternity.

It’s amazing the flood of water that can run under a bridge in 5 years, isn’t?

The First Official Video

The following week my daughters and I worked on putting together the very first “Monday Monkey” video. The purpose, as stated above, was twofold: 1) to insert a little fun into the mix; 2) to increase subscription numbers – to over 100. As best as I can tell, both goals were met…eventually.

In this first video you will see my middle daughter, Katie, playing the part of a teacher. Ironically, she is now a music education major (junior) at Bryan College in Dayton, TN.

It literally took us about 3 hours to film this little 1-minute video! Ahh, memories😉

“Monkey Questions”

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Filed under animals, blogging, Humor, Monday Monkey

Another Face-to-Face

Let me think for just a moment… How many bloggers has it been that have come through Chattanooga and visited with my family and me?

Let’s see, there was the cute couple of the century, Daniel and Caitlin Klem, who came through before Christmas a couple of years ago. There’s been James and Lydia Neff who’s been by a few times, which was always an encouragement. The Fry’s (Wally & Heather) and their daughter came through while on vacation last year, and that was fun. And how can I forget Heather, Everette, and Emerson?

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Myself and Jessie Jeanine. Photo by: My wife, Valerie.

Well, this last week another long-time blogging friend paid a visit. Last Tuesday Jessie Jeanine decided to swerve through Chattanooga on her cross-country (and half-way back again) search for a place to re-settle (that’s a long story in its own right). She loved it so much here that she stayed over a week! How cool is that?

I will never get over how bloggers can be a part of a community without ever meeting in person. But it is awesome when people who are friends online can meet face-to-face, confirming the reality that there has always been a genuine person on the other side of the computer screen.

Jessie was one of the first bloggers who really encouraged me to keep writing – because she actually replied to my comments and then followed my blog! For a new blogger that was a big deal, especially considering her story (one of horrendous abuse, working with the FBI, and even being a friend to Hollywood stars). To me Jessie Jeanine was a blogging celebrity, and a celebrity I highly respected. That was like 5 or 6 years ago.

However, this past week Jessie ate with us, worshiped with us, and even asked me to work on her car. What’s more, she got to spend enough time with us to see a few of our bad sides. Yet, real friends stay friends even when they are transparent and vulnerable. Real friends being real, that’s all.

We had a great time just hanging out, watching TV, doing dishes, playing board games, talking church, faith and religion, and dealing with a little bit of family drama.

But every good thing must come to an end, so they say, and Jessie is now somewhere in Houston, Texas, I think. My wife and daughters and I will always be grateful for the time we got to spend with her. Needless to say, there were a few tears shed when it came time for her to leave.

May God bless her, protect her, and provide for her needs during this huge cross-country transition in life.

Oh, and eventually we’re all going to pay David Welford a visit in England! Woo Hoo!

So, any more of you guys coming through Chattanooga any time soon? I know a great coffee shop🙂

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Filed under blogging, Christian Unity

A Lesson Learned

Living in a house full of women has taught me one thing, if nothing else. It’s almost impossible to get in the last        . 

– Anthony Baker

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Filed under Aliens, Humor, Marriage, Relationships and Family, Uncategorized, wisdom

We Are Family

Friends, all I know to tell you is that I have now had the privilege to meet one glittering jewel of a young blogger. Courtney’s blog is called 1 Timothy 4:12 Girl, and she is certainly “an example of the believers, in word, in conversation…” I’m excited to have her write a guest post for me. And in case you didn’t get it, she’s still a teenager!!


What does it mean to be a family?

Ask ten different people and you’ll get ten different answers.

To some, it’s the parents and siblings that they were raised with. To others, it’s their current family unit that they’ve created for themselves, through marriage and procreation. Still to others, it’s a grandparent or relative who raised them.

familypic.jpgFamily is a concept that is embedded deep within the human heart. We all long for a place to belong and feel at home.

A place to kick off our shoes after a long day.

A place where we can be fully ourselves—quirks and all.

A place to love and be loved.

Society tells us that family is limited to those related to us through blood or marriage.

The Bible on the other hand, tells a different story. When ­asked about His brothers and mother in the book of Matthew, Jesus turns previously held assumptions about family upside-down.

“Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” (Matthew 12:48-50)

Jesus broadens the definition of family to include every believer who has been washed in the blood of Christ and saved by God’s amazing grace.

You are my brother. I am your sister. We are one giant family connected through the blood of Christ. Whatever your experience with your biological family, you have the guarantee of a family in Christ. This concept is reinforced throughout the New Testament, as familial language is repetitively used (1 Timothy 5:1-2, Hebrews 13:1, Philemon 1:15-16). The Bible even goes into detail about how to live this out, instructing us time and time again to love one and other and walk with fellow believers through times of trouble.

We live in a world that is starving for love. Look no further than the local news station to find that divisions between people are running rampant. This should not be so among believers. If we want to love a broken world, we must start by loving each other. Despite our many differences, we are one in Christ. This point is presented beautifully in Galatians 3:28. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Imagine how amazing our witness for Christ would be if we truly lived out Jesus’ vision for believers. I have seen the concept of family practiced vividly in the Christian blogging world and pray that this becomes a reality worldwide. No one should ever feel left out in the body of Christ. The first thing that a person should know when the walk through the doors of our churches is that they are loved. When Jesus hung on the cross, His arms were spread wide open, embracing everyone willing to come and follow Him. We are called to live as a reflection of that, and live out God’s radical love here on earth as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Connected as one big, crazy, awesome, beautiful family of believers. 

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Unity, Christianity, community, Love of God, Relationships and Family

Happy 16th Birthday, Haley!

Sweet Sixteen

Today (July 28th) my youngest daughter, Haley, turns sixteen. I am so happy for her, but it does make me feel old.

Haley has always been the serious one, the only baby in the family who would look at the photographer trying to make her laugh and say with an expression, “Are you serious?” No joke, if you were to look back at all of our girls’ baby pictures, Haley is the only one who very rarely smiled. Thankfully, she got the smile to working.

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But Haley is not longer a baby  – she’s sixteen. That’s 16. That’s driver’s license age. That’s the same age as Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles (although I have no idea how old Molly was when it was filmed). Am I ready for my serious little baby girl to ride around with a 20-something in his daddy’s Rolls Royce?

Uhmm… No. I’m not.

The Birth Announcement

Do you want to know how I first heard about Haley? Sure you do, or you’d quit reading.

Sixteen years ago I was working in Hopkinsville, Kentucky at Fuqua-Hinton Funeral Home, while my wife and other two daughters were still in Chattanooga. My wife had been trying to find a way to tell me she was expecting, but could never track me down. Finally, I was stopped by an older, Lurch-like funeral home worker as I was coming out of my office.

“Anthony, I need to tell you something… You need to sit down.”

“What’s going on?” I asked with a little curiosity.

Looking down at me with little expression and with a matter-of-fact tone he said, “You’re wife called. She’s pregnant. You’re going to have a baby.”

Yeah, that’s how I found out.

The Wildcat

July 4th at the park.

July 4th at the park.

In case you didn’t get it, Haley was born in Kentucky, so that makes her a Wildcat. Now, she is not a big Kentucky Wildcat fan, or anything, but the name fits, that’s for sure.

Haley is anything but placid. Haley is as matter-of-fact as the funeral home where I worked, always serious, even when she’s having fun. But Haley is no one to be trifled with; she’s a gun-loving, knife-wielding, fish-catching, John Deere-riding kind of girl with an a hankering for action.

Haley loves to dress up with an elegance that rivals Grace Kelly, but give her half-a-chance and she’ll get down and dirty picking weeds out of mulch and hauling rock with a wheelbarrow. As a matter of fact, she’s a little entrepreneur: she’s started her own little business called “Hard-Work’n Southern Girl.”

Doing the hard work, like her grandpa and great-granddaddy before her.

Doing the hard work, like her grandpa and great-granddaddy before her.

Boldness

But if there is anything about Haley that makes me most proud is her boldness; Haley is fearless when it comes to approaching people. This trait can be especially useful when trying to sell a box full of my books to total strangers. Haley has no problem walking up to someone and offering them a flyer, asking them to buy a book, or walking up to a total stranger in need of help and offering hers.

Haley helping after stormWhen a storm comes through our community and blows down trees that block the road, Haley is the first to look for ways to help a neighbor…even when the neighbor looks a little scary and has a chainsaw (my wife took the picture – she stayed in the car while Haley got out and helped).

But it’s when she is bold about her faith in Jesus…when she walks up to a stranger and invites him to church… when she’s waiting in line somewhere and finds a reason to offer them one of my business cards and says, “You should come hear my dad preach”… when she wants to help out in the projects where the children of drug dealers need Bibles…

When she’s taken life’s tragedies and her own brokenness as an opportunity to make things right for others who’ve also been wounded and hurt…

When she reaches out to the unloved, the unlovely, the friendless, and the forgotten…because that’s what Jesus would do…

THAT is what makes me the proudest dad in the world.

November, 2015

Volleyball Banquet, November 2015

Happy birthday, Haley! I love you!!

Celebrating the b-day at Summit @ Bryan College. We brought roses :-) Katie, is on the right.

Celebrating the b-day at Summit @ Bryan College. We brought roses🙂 Katie, is on the right. Can you pick out Sean McDowell in the upper left corner?

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Filed under Parenting, Relationships and Family

Where Will You Praise Him?

“Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.” – Psalm 111:1

Are you imitating the words of King David in Psalm 111:1?

You can’t do it in front of a television while watching your favorite preacher.

You can’t do it at the ball field watching your favorite child.

You can’t do it sitting in your boat waiting for a bite.

You can’t do it while doing laundry.

You can’t do it reading a devotional while drinking your morning coffee.

You can’t do it while listening to the radio as you make pancakes.

You can’t do it in a hotel room while on vacation.

You can’t do it taking a morning run.

You can’t do it out in the forest while waiting for a 10-point buck to walk by.

You can’t do it in your bed on your only day off.

So, how does one imitate the words of David in Psalm 111:1?

Simple. You go to church.

Hope to see you there!

church glad to go

 

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Filed under Church, community