Monday, June 29, 2009

It's a Girl Thing

Something tells me this girl's gonna grow up and marry a really good listener.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Money Hungry

Yesterday our washer stopped spinning. Not wanting our laundry to back up before we have it fixed, I decided I'd rather go to the laundromat. So, I asked Maya & Isaac (the only money-motivated children in this house) if they had any quarters. Isaac said that he had plenty, so I told him I could trade his quarters for dollars.
So he asks: But how many quarters for a dollar?
I said: Well, how many quarters are in a dollar?
You should have seen his face deflate as he realized I was going to do an even trade.

In true Isaac fashion, he held up 2 fingers and said, disappointingly: Four quarters.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Redeem the Time

It has been heavy on my heart lately that I don't have much time with my Maya left. She's almost 12 and I can easily see her marrying young. When I am sick, she runs the household. She cooks half our dinners single-handedly. She's a very trustworthy sibling-sitter; the littles respect her when she gives direction. My mom recently said that when she has all six at her house, it's not difficult because Maya keeps them all in line. She said: She opens her mouth to say something to Lydia and Daniel, but it's Ginger's words I hear.
She has been a quick study in child-training; I know she will be a great mommy one day. I trust she will know better than my generation who were taught that we should wait to have kids until after we've been married several years and have developed more selfishness, I mean: a "good foundation". What a crock!
As confident as I am in Maya's skills as a future keeper of the home, I am just as concerned about our relationship. I love and enjoy her so much, but does she really know that? When I correct her attitudes, do I do it with gentleness or does she hear criticism? Will she confide in me when she has something more serious than a scabbed knee to talk about? Does she recognize the pride in my eyes when I look at her or are my words more effective?
Lord, give me discernment to know how my kids need love. Give me the humility to be deliberate in my love for them. And please, oh please, let them all live within a ten mile radius of home when they grow up.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Don't Stop Obeying!

This morning, one of my favorite bloggers pointed out a recent problem resulting from the down-turning economy: people are having less babies. He says:

One of the overlooked consequences of the current economic downturn is the increasing number of people who have decided to forego having children. All over the western world people are deciding that now is not the time to get pregnant. As a result, the vasectomy industry is experiencing an economic boom. As evidence of this, there was a recent article in Bio-Medicine titled, “With the Economy Down, Vasectomy Rates Are Up.” The author notes that, “Doctors around the United States are reporting a sharp increase in the number of vasectomies performed since the economy soured last year.” The numbers are actually quite astonishing. One article reported more than a thirty percent increase in vasectomy rates in Canada. Things are even worse in some parts of the United States.

And this, to me, was the most interesting observation:

There’s another issue at play here. Many people who prevent pregnancy today and plan on just “getting back around to it” some other time are in danger of, “tempting the Lord their God.” (Matt 4:7; cf. Deut. 6:16) Getting pregnant is not a guarantee. There are plenty of people out there who cry themselves to sleep at night because they’ve been trying for years and God has not opened the womb. People who put pregnancy off until a “more appropriate time” need to bear this in mind. You don’t know when (or if) you will get pregnant. As such, it is quite presumptuous to put it off until you decide you’re ready. Remember, God is the author of life, and every child is a blessing. Besides, who’s going to fix our ethical, spiritual, economic, and political crisis in the next generation if those of us who know the answer (the gospel) shut it down and stop launching arrows simply because they may require a little financial sacrifice in the short run?

How very true! Just because the economy is in decline is no reason to start disobeying God's first command: Be fruitful and multiply!

Read more here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

No Really, I Do

The other day, someone asked me: You homeschool all your kids?
Well, no, I only homeschool the ones who are school-age, but that's not what he meant. I responded: Yes, and I love it!
He questioned: Are you being sarcastic?

The truth is, I really do love homeschooling my children.

I love that I get to choose what they learn and how they learn it. My kids don't have to learn using dry textbooks; they can learn by reading books written by authors passionate about their subject.

I love that they are getting a 1:1 education (ok 1:4, but what school do you know, public or private, that offers that?) I am initimately aware of how they, as individuals, learn and I am able to tailor their education to benefit them most.

I love seeing the close relationship my kids have as a result of spending so much time together.

I love reading the Bible to them every day and hearing the question they ask. I love that I don't miss any of these things while they're away at school.

I love that when someone asks my kids how they are doing in school, their answer isn't a letter grade, reflecting the things they didn't figure out. I don't grade anything. They do the work until they get it all right.

I love that I get to learn so much history, geography, science, and read such great literature while teaching my kids. I love the education I'm getting.

Monday, June 8, 2009

When Songs Had Meaning

I have had "How Great Thou Art" stuck in my head the last several days. When I'm just sitting there doing nothing, I find myself singing it. This verse gets me every time:

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
Lydia has been humming the tune to "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" a lot lately. It's one of my all time favorite hymns. That first day, we were all outside. I was sitting at the table reading while the kids played. Lydia was swinging and humming that song. I looked up from my book, smiling in recognition and then started singing it. She looked at me, smiling and just stared at me while I continued singing:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
When I finished, she asked me to sing it again. The same thing happened yesterday when she was mindlessly humming it while staring out the window of the van.
What hymns do you love? What do they mean to you?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Going Downhill Fast

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20 ESV)

President Obama is committed to a radical pro-homosexual agenda. Since day one of his administration, he has made no secret of his intent to move the ball forward on the full acceptance of homosexuality and the criminalization of all disapproval thereof. Just this week he appointed the founder of GLSEN to a post in the Department of Education. Then, in another brazen act, the Obama administration took another bold step forward as he declared June LGBT Pride Month. In a statement on the White House website he wrote:

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic.

Hence, sodomites, who who are in large part responsible for the introduction and spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic are praised for responding to this plague in an attempt to avoid annihilation (by the way, I know you don’t have to engage in sodomy to get HIV, but that doesn’t change the facts... see the book, And the Band Played On for an honest look at this issue). This is revisionism at its worst.

Read more here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm Flabbergasted!

Make sure you notice what's on the stage behind this "pastor".

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

An Afternoon with the Mechanic

I had to get my van worked on, so I loaded all the kids and took off to see our friendly neighborhood mechanic, who we affectionately call "Mechanic Phil" (because we can never remember his last name). He works from home, so he charges half the price for labor.

At first, we set up a blanket on his lawn and had a mini-picnic. My plan was for the four big kids to do their math and reading, but their curiosity was killing them. After they finished their reading, they just couldn't stand to sit still any more. They were dying to know what Mr. Phil was doing to our van.

Mechanic Phil was very gracious about having an audience. (He has five sons.) They all thought it was "totally cool!" He was doing body work, so he used a lot of big manly tools. {Grunt}

Lydia didn't care too much for that huge air compressor though. When it kicked in, she almost kicked me! It was as taller than me, so I don't blame her.

Maya, being a firstborn, still wanted to get her math out of the way, so she wouldn't have to worry about it later. I love how firstborns think.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Father's Love

No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in
him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.
-1 John 3:9

We lived in Dallas, Texas, for twelve years, from 1973 to 1985. Our daughter Melanie was born in 1978. Although it was an annual event, we had not taken her to the Texas State Fair until 1984. Even then, we were somewhat reluctant to go. There had been a rash of child abductions in the Dallas – Ft. Worth area during the course of the year and most parents, like my wife and I, were concerned for their children’s welfare. The Dallas Morning News issued a warning to parents that, should they attend the State Fair, they should be extremely cautious and keep close watch over their kids.

Needless to say, Ann and I were extremely careful with Melanie that day. She was only six years old, but she was pretty stubborn for her age. Everywhere we went on the midway she saw something she wanted. Whether it was cotton candy or a clown or a game throwing balls at milk cans, she ran toward it with reckless abandon. Each time I pulled her aside and said, “Melanie, you simply can’t do that. You must stay right here with me and mom. Don’t run off like that. It’s not safe.”

It worked for a while, but then we walked past another sideshow she wanted to experience, and off she went again. I could no longer afford to let her run free, so I took hold of her hand and applied a firm grip. On numerous occasions she tried to pull free. She yelled at me to walk faster. She struggled to break free of my grip so she could run first, into the Fun House, and then onto the roller coaster. She pulled and pulled, drawn as she was by the lights and sounds and promises of thrill rides and delicious candy.

Each time she sought to pull away, my grip intensified. I knew what possibly awaited her if I were to let go of her hand. Was I irritated by her demands to be set free? Yes. Was I disappointed that she so lightly regarded my commitment to protect her from obvious dangers and potential threats to her life? Yes. Was I, for those or any other reasons, in the least way inclined to let go of her hand and let her have her way? Not for a single, solitary second! My love for her and my commitment to her safety and my devotion to her welfare never altered, never wavered, never diminished in the slightest degree.

But let’s suppose I had chosen to do otherwise. Let’s imagine that in my growing frustration with her willful ways I finally reached the end of my patience and said: “O.K. Have it your way. I’ve done all I can. I’ve done all I’m allowed to do. After all, it’s your life. Go ahead and run off to your worldly pleasures.” And then I let go of her hand, releasing her to horrid possibilities that I had rather not describe.

What would you think of me then? What kind of father would you consider me to be? A reprehensible wretch? Yes! A heartless father unwilling to do whatever was necessary to overcome the resistance of his child and preserve her from fatal harm? Yes!

If I, being as I am a selfish sinner, would go to every length possible to preserve my precious little girl and protect her from fatal harm, how much more will your Heavenly Father, being as he is a glorious and loving and good savior, preserve and protect and sustain you in his arms! Am I more loving than God? Am I willing to do for my child what He is unwilling to do for His?

One of the greatest mistakes made by those who deny the perseverance of the saints is in focusing on the strength of our will to rebel rather than the strength of God’s commitment to preserve us in faith.