Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Jojo, the two-year-old son (cue the voice inside Jojo's toddler brain----if I say yes, there will be discipline, probably a spanking, but if I say no and lie, there will be discipline, probably a spanking.... RATS!....this is not good....it wasn't even as fun as I thought it would be!.......all she did was scream and cry: what a woos!...and why didn't I hide the bottle? Duh!....okay, dad is waiting for an answer....what other words do I know....c'mon, vocabulary, c'mon....EUREKA! I got it...this will puzzle the old man....he will have to let me go becuase of the brilliance of my reasoning...tone is everything here, just squeak it out, sound innocent......okay, here it goes.....): "Maybe?"
Spanking commences forthwith.
This is a bad thing - like abrasive parenting and speed bumps and unnecessary zippers - except about books.
Monday, June 29, 2009
1. Today is my 13th wedding anniversary. A few observations:
a. (Good) marriage requires effort. Not as much effort as children, but since it involves sinners and time, someone is bound to get offended at some point.
b. We have learned the art of fighting well. We did not know that this was important 13 years ago, but it is....
c. We produce a child an average of every 790 days. God has been good.
d. We have a real shot at fifty years. Maybe even sixty if the Lord tarries (I hope He doesn't).
e. I love Mrs. Underdog now more than ever.
2. I had a fever last night. One of those fevers where you just cannot get warm and you shiver a lot. Although I was sick, it was kind of interesting to experience that again.
3. In all of the Michael Jackson coverage, I have tried not to watch, but alas, I find it fascinating. Mr. Jackson denied himself nothing and found nothing that satisfied his soul. I wonder what Solomon would have said to Mr. Jackson? What about Job? What about Jesus?
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
- This Father's Day will be especially cool because my Dad is here. Once you are a Dad, you Dadship is never revoked.
- We are going to Sea World San Antonio this week. I was a little disappointed to find out that it is a water park/amusement park and not just a super aquarium. If I want rides, I can go to Six Flags. But I want sea creatures in all of their diversity and wonder. Anyone that reads this little blog been to Sea World before? Any advice?
- This is an amazing quote that has me thinking: Sadly, it is commonly said among Christians that “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.” This is as stupid as saying God loves rapists and hates rape, as if rape and rapists were two entirely different entities that could be separated from one another. Furthermore, it was not a divinely inspired author of Scripture but the Hindu Gandhi who coined the phrase “Love the sinner but hate the sin” in his 1929 autobiography.The love of God is in fact true but sadly has been so overly emphasized in most Christian teaching that one wonders if God is love or if love is now God.- Mark Driscoll, Death By Love, p. 128
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Check this out:
Most fathers-to-be suppose that their old ego-centered lives will continue more or less unabated after the child arrives. With the exception of a few more obstacles and demands on their time, their involvement with their children is envisioned as being something manageable and marginal. Nothing like a complete transformation—an abrupt end to their former life—really enters men’s minds.
But then the onslaught begins, and a man begins to realize that these people, his wife and children, are literally and perhaps even intentionally killing his old self. All around him everything is changing, without any signs of ever reverting back to the way they used to be. Into the indefinite future, nearly every hour of his days threatens to be filled with activities that, as a single-person or even a childless husband, he never would have chosen. Due to the continual interruptions of sleep, he is always mildly fatigued; due to long-term financial concerns, he is cautious in spending, forsaking old consumer habits and personal indulgences; he finds his wife equally exhausted and preoccupied with the children; connections with former friends start to slip away; traveling with his children is like traveling third class in Bulgaria, to quote H.L. Mencken; and the changes go on and on. In short, he discovers, in a terrifying realization, what Dostoevsky proclaimed long ago: “[A]ctive love is a harsh and fearful reality compared with love in dreams.” Fatherhood is just not what he bargained for.
Yet, through the exhaustion, financial stress, screaming, and general chaos, there enters in at times, mysteriously and unexpectedly, deep contentment and gratitude. It is not the pleasure or amusement of high school or college but rather the honor and nobility of sacrifice and commitment, like that felt by a soldier. What happens to his children now happens to him; his life, though awhirl with the trivial concerns of children, is more serious than it ever was before. Everything he does, from bringing home a paycheck to painting a bedroom, has a new end and, hence, a greater significance. The joys and sorrows of his children are now his joys and sorrows; the stakes of his life have risen. And if he is faithful to his calling, he might come to find that, against nearly all prior expectations, he never wants to return to the way things used to be.
The whole article is great.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I really miss you. In fact, although you came and went in the blink of an eye, I developed a special affection for you. The way that you rained teardrops of rainy goodness every few days made a permanent impression on me. The days were long and filled with walks in the tender warmth of moderate temperatures. The flowers budded with your arrival and the birds sang their songs with a new joy....
Yet you left me, you wretched season! And your evil twin brother, Summer has moved in. Like the hot fires of fiery hot fire, Summer's heat and pressure has wilted my spirit and given my soul second degree burns. You brought such happiness, Spring, but your brother has made me feel like a bad haircut that will never grow out. Like a polar bear at a salad bar. Like something worse than Shredded Wheat with no milk. The rays of your sunshine that made me feel refreshed now power down on my poor head like a comination of super sharp needles, lasers, and angry porcupines. Ouch, you know?
Since you left, Spring, the rain drops never fall on my head. The birds seem bitter. Everything is worse. And did I mention that it is humid? Its like the whole state is one great big armpit after a collective marathon. You were pleasantly moist, but Summer's humidity is like having a wet cat permanently stuck to your head. It's not good.
I am pleading with you Spring, please come back. Vanquish Summer and bring balance back to the weather. I love you.
Friday, June 12, 2009
.....I am pleased that we have been able to bring this matter to a mutually agreeable solution without involving attorneys. Please find our final payment on Invoice #3010 enclosed.
Liking cookies a lot,
Or maybe a little honesty:
Gassy from too many burritos,
Or perhaps something confessional:
Regifting everything you give me,
I think that this will really help a lot of letter writing be more effective. You know, really help the writer connect with their reader.
Just thinking out loud....
Thursday, June 11, 2009
- We had some incredibly powerful storms last night. 80 mph winds and tornado sirens led to all eight of us (and Harley, the wonder dauschund) hiding in the closet under the stairs. It is times like those that you appreciate the indisputable fact that melting ice cream should never go to waste.
- I take some comfort in the fact that Jesus had to tell seven parables before His disciples understood what He was talking about in Matthew 13. And even then I am not sure they really got it. I would have made a poor disciple---"Um, Jesus, I just am not getting the whole kingdom thing and I am really bad at parables. When are we going to eat?"
- My little blog got more traffic for the Super Cool dog video than for anything else I have ever posted. Further proof that things are going to the dogs....(Rimshot, please.)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Preparation for parenthood is not just a matter of reading books and decorating the nursery. Here are 12 simple tests for expectant parents to take to prepare themselves for the real-life experience of being a mother or father.
1. Women: to prepare for maternity, put on a maternity shift and stick a 30 pound sack of potatoes down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After 9 months, take out 10% of the potatoes.Men: to prepare for paternity, go to the local pharmacy, tip the contents of your wallet on the counter, and tell the pharmacist to help himself. Then go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their home office. Go home. Pick up the paper. Read it for the last time.
2. Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels, and how they have allowed their children to run amok. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behavior. Enjoy it - it'll be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.
3. To discover how the nights will feel, walk around the living room from 5pm to 10 pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds. At 10 pm put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1am. Set the alarm for 3am. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2.45 am. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4 am. Set the alarm for 5am. Get up. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.
4. Can you stand the mess children make? To find out, smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. Hide a fish stick behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flowerpots then rub them on the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?
5. Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems. First buy an octopus and a string bag. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this - all morning.
6. Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and a pot of paint turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet tube. Using only scotch tape and a piece of foil, turn it into a Christmas ornament. Last, take a milk jug, a ping pong ball, and an empty packet of Coco Puffs and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. Congratulations. You have just qualified for a place on the playgroup committee.
7. Forget the Miata and buy a Taurus. And don't think you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that. Buy a chocolate ice cream bar and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a quarter. Stick it in the cassette player. Take a family-size packet of chocolate cookies. Mash them down the back seats. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There. Perfect.
8. Get ready to go out. Wait outside the toilet for half an hour. Go out the front door. Come in again. Go out. Come back in. Go out again. Walk down the front path. Walk back up it. Walk down it again. Walk very slowly down the road for 5 minutes. Stop to inspect minutely every cigarette butt, piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way. Retrace your steps. Scream that you've had as much as you can stand, until the neighbors come out and stare at you. Give up and go back into the house. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.
9. Always repeat everything you say at least five times.
10. Go to your local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child - a fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy. Until you can easily accomplish this do not even contemplate having children.
11. Hollow out a melon. Make a small hole in the side. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy cereal and attempt to spoon it into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane. Continue until half the cereal is gone. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor. You are now ready to feed a 12-month old baby.
12. Learn the names of every character from The Wiggles, Dora the Explorer, and Teletubbies. When you find yourself singing "Backpack" at work, you finally qualify as a parent.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
From R.C. Sproul's new book, The Prayer of Our Lord (p. 15):
There are really only two rules that you have to keep in mind when you're in prayer, two things that should drive and govern and control your prayer life with the Almighty.
You should remember who is being addressed and who is doing the speaking.
That is, the first thing you are to remember in prayer is who it is you're talking to, because nothing will condition your prayer life more deeply than remembering that you're in conversation with God, the sovereign Creator and ruler of the universe.
Second, you are to remember who you are. You are not God. You are a creature. So prayer is not a conversation between peers; it is not a fireside chat among equals. This is the creature speaking to his sovereign Creator.
I have been thinking about prayer a lot recently. I pray, but not as a habit. Lots of room to improve. But even I can remember two things...
Friday, June 5, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Jesus responds and tells them to tell John that they lame and the lepers are getting healed. The dead are being raised. The poor are hearing the kingdom news. Oh, and sorry if this approach is offensive to people. The Messiah is taking a little different approach than people might have expected. This kingdom will be more about exalting servanthood and less about a making war against the Roman occupiers. Jesus will seek to conquer people's hearts.
The Promised One was a Lamb whose purpose was sacrifice, not a king intent on conquest. I bet that was really tough news for John.
Just thinking out loud.....
Monday, June 1, 2009
What is the greatest hindrance to cultivating community in the American church?
The first thing that comes to mind is frenetic western-culture busyness.
I read a book on stress a few years back, and the author made a side comment that I thought was so insightful. He said that the highest value of materialistic western culture is not possessing. It's actually acquiring.
If you're a go-getter you never stop. And so the guy who is lavishly successful doesn't quit, because there are greater levels of success. "My house could be bigger, I could drive better cars, I could have more power, I could have more money."
And so we've bought an unbiblical definition of the good life of success. Our kids have to be skilled at three sports and play four musical instruments, and our house has to be lavish by whatever standard. And all of that stuff is eating time, eating energy, eating money. And it doesn't promote community.
I think often that even the programs of a local church are too sectored and too busy. As if we're trying to program godliness. And so the family is actually never together because they're all in demographic groupings. Where do we have time where we are pursuing relationships with one another, living with one another, praying with one another, talking with one another?
I've talked to a lot of families who literally think it's a victory to have 3 or 4 meals all together with one another in a week, because they're so busy. Well, if in that family unit they're not experiencing community, there's no hope of them experiencing it outside of that family unit.
We have families that will show up at our church on Sunday morning with the boys dressed in their little league outfits, and I know what's going to happen. They're going to leave the service early. Now what a value message to that little boy! Do I think little league is bad? I don't think it's bad at all. I think it's great. But they're telling him what's important as they do that.
You can't fit God's dream (if I can use that language) for his church inside of the American dream and have it work. It's a radically different lifestyle. It just won't squeeze into the available spaces of the time and energy that's left over.
- Most interesting comment of the weekend: I was talking with a new friend at a party that we attended and the conversation turned to music. She asked what kind of music I prefer, which provided me with a platform to espouse the breadth and depth of my musical appreciation (my iPod is a living tribute to musical variety or indecisiveness, depending on your viewpoint). She made the comment that she was at the age now (47, I think) when she values silence over the sound of music. That is difficult for me to comprehend, but maybe I am just not old enough.
- I am excited that the newest Pixar movie, Up, has received such great reviews. One even said that the movie made them love their wife more. We won't get to see the movie until my parents visit later this month. I have a little bit of doubt because Wall-E got great reviews too and it was pretty pedestrian in my opinion. For $8.50, a movie better be brilliant.
- I have to wonder about all the concern about Social Security. Two hundred years ago, there was no such thing. But now, the expectation is there that the government will pay people for an indeterminate amount of time based on deposit over finite period of time. Did anyone really think this would work? In my lifetime, Social Security will be over $40 trillion in the hole. Just another example of our country thinking we can buy something now and pay later. Sigh.