Friday, April 09, 2010

The Long Goodbye

Life changes.

For the past eighteen months, Jason has been praying for God to lead him to pastor a church. Sunday will mark our first service at the church where God has led our family to serve Him.

It's been an amazing journey.

It's been a long goodbye.

We have been so completely overwhelmed by the flood of emotions and the outpouring of love that has covered us these last few weeks. People have been generous beyond our wildest expectations with their time and prayers and help and resources. If we stop for a moment and think about it, it about brings us to tears.

Our dear home church was truly filled with Christian brothers and sisters-real family. Our new church already has stunned us with their love in action. Example: on top of all the work they are putting in at the parsonage, men were waiting to help unload the truck, there was dinner ready at the church, and the people have had a food shower for us-there is enough food there to last us quite awhile.

Our friends from home arrive today to help, and we can't wait to see them. They have been like our right arms, and I have no idea, save for God's amazing provision, how we'll manage without them.

So much to do, so much to be thankful for, it's a wonderful life!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The disappearance of Childhood and the culture of Youth

I was reading a blog I enjoy today, and the author said a profound thing:
"You can fast forward childhood, but you can't rewind it."
(Jonathan Christopher,

That sentence set my wheels a-turnin': Why is our culture jumping up and down on the Fast Forward through Childhood button, and then when our seven-year-olds arrive breathlessly at a media-induced-early adolescence, the culture slams on the brakes? Why is it that we want our Teenage Years to last from about age 6 1/2 until, oh, age 30?

I have some ideas, and I'd love to hear yours as well...

Youth today means "I can make my own decisions and I don't have to shoulder any responsibility for said decisions." Loosely translated, that means we crave rejecting the authority God has placed in our lives, and instead we replace it with our own set of personal standards. Let's all sing the Malcolm in the Middle Song together to demonstrate: "You're not the boss o'me n-o-o-o-o-w!!"

There should be a reasonable period of time in life for children to practice making their own decisions in an environment that is safe for them to mess up in. A kid should be able (once!) to say stuff like, "I'm eating chocolate chip cookie dough for every meal today," and suffer the consequences at home. But to ellongate this period of life so that such thoughts turn into, "I'm gonna live in dad's basement and play video games for seventeen hours a day even though I am twenty-three years old," and suffer no consequence greater than the exasperated shoulder -shrugging of mom and dad is horrible.

For some reason, our culture has fed us the lie that we deserve to be entertained, and that being entertained is the highest purpose in life. We are raising a generation of spoiled kids who have no purpose, no drive, no ambition, and no standards-except that whatever they do needs to be entertaining, and worthy of posting on You-Tube. In our quest to be sure our kids are happy, we have stolen from them the things that produce true happiness: responsibility, and hard work.

The Lord spoke about this mentality in the gospels: John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. That concept is completely weird by today's standards, and, truth be told, pretty freaky to those who actually heard the Lord say it so many years ago. We are seeing this verse lived out in today's culture, though. People are competely self-absorbed, entertained every minute of every day, coddled, cuddled, coifed, fawned over, manicured, styled, twittered...and miserable.

I believe we need to go the other way: lengthen childhood. Stretch that period of innocence and trust in adults out as long as possible. In order to do this, we as the parents of children must be people who are trustworthy and worthy of respect. We can not rail against children without turning the microscope on our own responsibility toward them. We must train our children, not entertain them. We must get back to spending time with them, talking to them, encouraging them, instructing them, and disciplining them. We must return to interacting with our children. So often in the early fall I hear parents say with actual glee in their voices, "School's starting soon! I can't wait to get these kids out of the house!" We need to reel that attitude in. If we can't stand being around the kids for very long either we have little patience, or we have raised little people no one wants to be around.

Secondly, we need to shorten adolescence. It needs to start later, and end sooner. In the colonial period, a young man of fifteen could earn a living for himself and his family. A young girl of the same age could run a household effectively and well. While I am not advocating a return to Little House on the Prairie, I would hypothesise that the teens of that era were happier and more fulfilled than today's thirty-year olds.

Why? Because they knew they were needed.

The youth of today don't know this. We as a society often pay lip service to our youth by saying pithy things like "the youth are the future", but we have entrusted them with nothing, with one glaring exception: the military. Oddly enough, the military has absolutely no intention of entertaining anyone who joins up, it requires hard work, it demands absolute respect for authority, and the military gives both purpose and responsibility to young people.

People need to face difficult challenges in order to see how strong they are. It is our job as parents to let our children see their strength. So, let's make them do some heavy lifting.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stop whining, I'm back!

Hello friends. I have missed you too. Summer was full and eventful and there are so many things I should have documented here but didn't. *Sigh*

We are now knee-deep in the school year, an autumn chill is in the air, and summer is becoming a distant memory. The kids are doing well, and continue to grow up in spite of all of our attempts to keep them from doing so. I wish we could slow down childhood. People should get to be four or eight for at least two years.

We are getting plans ready for the annual Harvest Carnival-it's gonna be fun! This year we are gonna go with a western theme...yee-haw!

I'll be back soon...with pictures!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to Have a Perfect Day

Invite over a cute kid.
Give your own cute kid a water gun.
Invite the cute kid's parents over, too.
Insert another cute kid.
Aforementioned cute kid's parents.
Get Jason to grill a huge hunk of ribs. Or, anything, really.
Insert another cute kid.
Appreciate beauty.
Cute kid. Again. Sorry, it can't be helped.
Go outside and enjoy the smell.
Like this.
Have fun!
Relax in the sunshine.
Or, in the house. Whatever.
Play with friends.
And eat!
We had a great Memorial Day with Adam, Suzanne and Lillian, and their amazing dog Jake. Jason grilled what I can only imagine were the greatest ribs ever to be grilled in the history of the world. We ate almost two entire slabs!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Birthdays and other assorted photo ops

This, dear blog readers, is what a typical 13-year-old looks like:

Yup-Allyson is now 13. The phone is indeed stuck to her ear, although she does not seem to be at all bothered by it. We had a great time together on her b-day. I took her to the Clinique counter, where she got a suh-weet makeover, and some new make-up and skin care stuff. Then we had lunch at Olga's, and went shopping! It was a perfect "girl-day"! We ended the day watching a few episodes of season 3 of "24"-Ally's favorite show. We will be overrun with teen girls this Friday, when Allyson host's a birthday sleepover. The fun has only just begun!
Here are the kids on Easter Sunday. They are really growing up good!

Check out Eric's sweet tie!

Kenton's birthday was on the 5th-he's eight now! We had a wonderful day with him, as well! Dad earned major points by getting him a new x-box controller and a new video game! We also got him a bible story book written comic book style, which he totally loves!

Here is Kenton opening the Picture Bible.

Judging by this reaction, Jason and I think he likes the video game.

What a handsome little man!
Things have been pretty busy around here: we finished up this season of "Behold the Lamb", the annual Easter play our church does. Allyson and Jason had major roles this year, and they both did an amazing job. Should you be interested in ordering a DVD, let me know!
Now, we have a brief amount of time that will be relatively normal, and then it will be camp season!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Creation Museum

Allyson and I were blessed to be able to accompany our church's senior group on an overnight trip to the Creation Museum in Kentucky this weekend. We had an amazing time and wanted to share some of the pictures with all of you.

Allyson and her friend Mariah wait to go into the museum...
Inside, there are many dinosaur models-this one is a velociraptor.

The whole premise of the museum is stated in this statement: God's Word is true.

And, if we believe the amazing claims of the New Testament and take them literally, we need to believe the amazing claims of the Old Testament as well.

The museum shows the doubt people have about the Word of God, and the effects of that doubt in a very clear way.

There are several exhibits of live animals, including this huge praying mantis...

An exhibit of "Darwin's" Finch's shows that God created each living thing with individuality and diversity, and these differences point to an amazing Creator, not evolution.

As you walk through the history of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, there are gorgeous exhibits of dinosaurs, and the beautiful stories of the Bible.

Allyson and a dino.

Here, Allyson sees the serpent who will ask Eve the pivotal question, "Hath God said...?"

After the fall of man, enter the predators.

And, the requirement of a blood sacrifice for sin.

Soon, mankind's evil reaches a point where God instructs the one righteous man left, Noah, to build an ark. You can not fully appreciate this exhibit without standing inside this to scale replica of the ark. Amazing!

Noah and his sons build the great "lifeboat".

A beautiful (breathtaking, really) model of the ark being loaded.

The doomed try to survive the flood.

The full image of the ark during the flood.

Inside the ark, Noah and his family are safe.

More views inside the ark.

Mrs. Noah goes to feed some of the animals.

The ark rest on Mt. Ararat.

Noah and his family build an altar, and sacrifice to the Lord.

After the flood, civilization is restored, and soon, brilliant and prideful mankind is at it again.
The museum takes the patron through the tower of Babel. After these exhibits, the story of Jesus is told-"The Last Adam", and people are given a clear presentation of the Gospel.

Upstairs, there is a great dinosaur exhibit!

Check out that T-Rex!
If you and your family are looking for a great place to spend a few days-I would encourage you to check out the Creation Museum. In addition to all of the wonderful exhibits, there were movies, multimedia special effects presentations, a petting zoo, botanical gardens, restaurants, a bookstore, and a wonderful planetarium.
We had a blast, and you will, too!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Yeah, I know, it's been awhile...

This time of year is non-stop for us, and so I have been terribly neglecting this blog...apologies to all of you readers (how many of you are there? Four now? Woo-hoo!!)

We are knee-deep in Easter play practice at church, in addition to our already-full schedule. The play means being at church every day but Friday for me, and every day, period, for Jason-no day off for four months!! Pray for endurance!

We had a wonderful Christmas, and then we had an awesome time at winter camp. There are tons of pictures on Facebook, you should check them out! The Lord truly blessed us.

Here is a pic of Eric's 4th (yes, I said 4th! I can't believe it either!) birthday! He's such a wonderful boy, and every day he does something that makes us all smile. He's been sick the past few days-he's a real trooper of a patient.

Jason cooked me dinner on Valentine's day: porterhouse steak and baked potatoes-mmm. He and I watched "Fireproof" and we loved it! If you haven't seen it yet, go rent it! As I was thinking about the movie, and Jason and I were talking about it together, I thought about the best marital advice I ever heard (from Dr. Curtis Hutson-great preacher of the past): "Do for your husband and train your husband-never the other way around." That statement is so profound! If we start training our kids to be good husbands and wives, then we will see our children have good marriages. And, if we start doing things for our husbands, instead of trying to re-train them, then we will be happier.
So, what's the best marital advise you ever received?