Tag Archives: Family

Saved from Irrelevance: the MacBook and Me

This morning I was seriously thinking about walking away from blogging for the next 30 days, or so. Last night was just one of those nights when all the emotional energy I had was sapped out of me, leaving me awake this morning with little or no desire to be transparent, much less creative. So, what was one of the first things that came to mind? Walk away from blogging for a while.

Now, the big question is why would I think like that? Well, it’s not really that difficult to understand: I wanted to atone.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes we like to act destructively in order to relieve stress or pain? Some people do it by drinking too much and getting drunk, while others shoot up drugs or watch porn (is this hitting home with any of you?). Many people, if not most, find some temporary comfort in doing something harmful or self-abasing in order to either punish themselves for something they feel they did wrong, or just prove to themselves they are as bad as they feel. Both options are tragic in their own right.

Why am I writing this? Well, what I am doing is the opposite of what walking away from blogging would do – I’m trying to make a difference.

If you have gotten this far I congratulate you. Most people, in my experience, would have tuned out by now, thinking the subject matter of this post is too emotional, depressing, or something. However, I am not writing this for anyone’s entertainment; I’m writing it because I need to.

And if I ramble, that’s because I am writing with no agenda, no editing, just to get this off my chest.

Anyway, last night was one of those nights that drained me, like I said. It was a night full of family drama, the kind parents sometimes have to go through when there are teens and young adults in the family. It’s that parenting thing that can be so hard…and the struggles within a marriage relationship…when multiple people get together, have differing opinions, different communication skills, and struggle to see things eye-to-eye. The single life does have its advantages in that one can just walk away when things get tense or uncomfortable – but not family. Family is hard work, and painful, too.

So, I woke up this morning, ready to quit blogging for a while. It just seemed like a statement I could make that would make me feel better. Really, the truth is nothing more than what I really wanted to have control over something. We can’t control other people (not unless we are tyrants, or something). Life itself is often nothing more than a four-wheel skid in a generally predetermined direction. Therefore, had I just announced that I was going to quit blogging for a while, I would have at least given myself a temporary emotional boost, one that said something to the effect of, “You are in control!”

But only God is truly in control, you know? The best I can do is remain faithful in the life He has called me to live. I will make mistakes; I will do things I regret; I will say things without thinking; I will hurt feelings; I will give advice today that tomorrow I may regret; and that’s because I am human. Even king Solomon, the wisest man on earth, made mistakes; am I wiser than him? All I can do is “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). In a broad application of Ecc. 12:14, God will handle the rest.

I don’t want to walk away from blogging – although I would like my posts to become ever more relevant and impactful. Just like this computer I am using this morning – one that I rescued from the trash – even though I am not the fastest, sharpest, most up-to-date, and all that, God want’s to take what I do have and put it to good use for His purposes. It’s a much better feeling knowing that something I am writing will make a small difference, rather than feeling that temporary gratification of being in “control.”

Lord willing, even thought I am not the best at it, tomorrow morning I am going to be preaching on the topic of prayer – specifically  “Prayer that Works.” Much of what I preach is nothing more than something I need to hear myself, and this will be no exception. And just like this blog post, one that is an attempt to show I don’t have everything under control, but I’m still making it through another day, tomorrow’s sermon will be an example of God using a flawed, imperfect example of humanity to showcase his glory and grace.

So, if nothing else, I’m thankful for this old computer, rescued from the trash heap, for giving me the urge to do a little bit more typing. God knows how He is going to use it. He’s the one in charge and in control, not me.

Our county school system had relegated this “outdated” MacBook to the trash, but I rescued it from the crusher. After a cleaning up and cleaning out, it still works fine, just a little slower than the new stuff – just like me 😉

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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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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

My Father’s World

Katie, my middle daughter, is now in Europe. She is soooo far away! Completely out of my hands. 

Before she left I warned her, “Now Katie, understand, I DO NOT have a particular set of skills…” If you don’t get it, don’t worry; leave that to me. 

But, you know, even though I don’t have a skill set which includes hunting down bad guys or rescuing damsels in distress, my Father in Heaven – the Creator – does! He has more skills than anyone can comprehend! 

As a matter of fact, this is my Father’s world, and He is far more capable than I of watching over my daughter, no matter where she is. 

Here is Katie singing this past Sunday morning. 

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My Easter Weekend in Photos

Just for you, my dear readers and friends (even my non-friends…you know who you are), here are some photos from the Easter weekend of 2017.

Enter into my world 😉

It all started on Friday when Katie (my daughter) and I went to downtown Chattanooga to renew her car tags – then realized the courthouse was closed. Go figure.

Friday

Just outside of the old courthouse in Chattanooga. The courthouse is behind me out of view. The fountain was dedicated many years ago to two firemen that died.

 

Oh my gosh! Olive Chattanooga is unbelievable! I never knew this place existed, but Katie and I stumbled upon it and fell in love. You have GOT to try the garlic-stuffed olives!

 

Saturday

Saturday afternoon I officiated a wedding. The ceremony took place on a bluff overlooking the valley in Dayton, TN.

 

A view from inside the beautiful house where the wedding took place.

 

The happy couple, Mr. & Mrs. Peter and Tina King!

 

Early Sunday Morning

Sunday morning we attended the Christian Motorcyclists Association’s Easter sunrise service.

 

After the sunrise service motorcycles and their riders were prayed for. They call it the “blessing of the bikes.”

 

Easter Morning at Church

Pastor Emeritus, Dr. Al Kashiemer holds his grandson during the men’s Sunday school class.

 

The Recovering Legalist and his wife, Valerie, after the morning Easter service.

 

Katie and Haley striking a sister pose.

Sunday Afternoon

After church the four of us went out and split a couple of meals at a Chinese restaurant. After all, what is Easter without Chinese food, right?

Then, after lunch, we went to the Chickamauga dam and flew kites – or at least tried. It was the first time in many years, and it was actually quite fun. All along we kept singing (or at least I did) the song from Mary Poppins.

 

Before we packed up the kites we unpacked the instruments for a little practice and a short video.

Katie and I recorded a video on Facebook Live. We played “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms.”

 

Back at the house, I finished up the Easter weekend with a little carpenter bee hunting. Got 2!

It was a really sweet, extended Easter weekend. I hope yours was as blessed as mine.

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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.
  • “All I want to do is go home, get some food, and play my video games all weekend!” Listen…to the…wait, an adult said that. 

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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Hair Today, Grace Tomorrow

Battles

You have probably heard it said before, but sometimes you have to pick your battles. At least that’s a common saying when it comes to parenting. Of course, there are sometimes when the battle chooses you, but for the most part, we can decide which battle should take priority. When it comes to my daughter getting her hair cut, well, I’ve decided that is a battle I am willing to invest few resources.

The other day my youngest, Haley, came to me and told me that she wanted to have her hair cut – and I mean CUT! I must admit, the idea of my beautiful little girl having her pretty hair scissored from her head made me sad. On the other hand, I was not as mournfully brokenhearted as Katie, Haley’s older sister. But, when she explained to me why she wanted it cut, and what she wanted it to look like, I just said, “OK, whatever makes you happy.”

However, since we are talking “battles,” don’t think “whatever makes you happy” will always be my response – no sir! Like I said, there are some battles worth fighting, it’s just that this one was not it. I mean, should she have come to me and asked if she could get her hair nearly shaved off and spiked and colored purple? Uhh, no. That wouldn’t have happened. And should she have come to me and asked for a tongue stud, or a tramp stamp… you get the picture… NO! And I would fight those battles.

Believe me, there are FAR more battles worth waging on behalf of our children, far more than ones over how short their hair should be!

But all Haley wanted was to have her pretty hair cut and styled shorter…and I wanted her to be happy…and there was really nothing wrong with what she was wanting to do. It was just hair – it can grow back.

Grace

But here’s the thing, folks. Should my little Haley gone out and done something that made me angry, something of which I would have strongly disapproved, would that have changed the fact that she is my daughter?

NO! Absolutely not!

If Haley had gone and got that tattoo on her back, or the nose ring, or the spiked hair…or far worse…yes, I still would have loved her, even though, as her dad, I would have been ticked. I would have been disappointed for my own reasons, but I wouldn’t have kicked her out of the house; she’s my daughter.

And that’s the thing about real grace. God loves us enough to let us live, even if our life choices prove to be out of step with the norm, or not what others would like. We are not talking about sin, but individual choices and decisions of life, where there is no real right or wrong, just the opportunity to offend or hurt. God’s grace allows us to be ourselves, within his boundaries, because He actually DOES want us to be happy.

Thankfully, though, when the choices of a believer DO cross the line and become sin, our Heavenly Father may be quick to discipline us, but He never stops loving us…we are family…we are His children.

So, the hair may be gone today, but grace isn’t.

How It Happened – In Pictures

 

Here is Haley, hair intact, with the Follicle Vampire about to strike.

Here is Haley, hair intact, with the Follicle Vampire about to strike.

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I had to keep reminding myself it could grow back. On the other hand, I could make a wig out of that!

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The finished product: A selfie-worthy cut on a beautiful daughter.

 

 

 

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