Sunday, November 30, 2008

Keys to good communication

Have you ever tried to explain something to someone and he/she just wasn't getting it? Well that happens to 3 year-olds too.
Matt and Emery put on headbands and stuck combs and brushes in them. Then the following conversation occurred:
Matt: "Yeah! We're Knights!"
Emery: "Yeah! Where's a knife!"
Matt: "No, no...no, we're KNIGHTS!"
Emery: "Yeah! We're NICE!"
Matt gives up and they both run around - Matt yelling, "We're knights!" with Emery yelling, "We're a knife!"
Priceless...

Friday, November 28, 2008

What are you thankful for?

Probably as many of you did, we spent a little time yesterday as a family talking about things that we are thankful for. We talked about being thankful for Jesus' death on the cross for our sin, the Bible, family, and toys, among many other things. But one thing that God has been convicting me of lately to be more thankful of, is suffering and those brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering around the world today.

Now I have gone through some trials for Christ's sake but I have never suffered in a biblical sense. But in reading Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand, I have realized a new appreciation for those who have and are suffering. Richard Wurmbrand was a pastor in Romania who was tortured and imprisoned in 1948 for 14 years in Romania by the Communists. And when he was not imprisoned, he was a vital part of the underground church there.

In describing some of his tortures, he writes, "The tortures and brutality continued without interruption. When I lost consciousness or became too dazed to give the torturers any further hopes of confession, I would be returned to my cell. There I would lie, unattended and half dead, to regain a little strength so they could work on me again. Many died at this stage, but somehow my strength always managed to return. In the ensuing years, in several different prisons, they broke four vertebrae in my back, and many other bones. They carved me in a dozen places. They burned and cut eighteen holes in my body."

The stories of torture are sometimes graphic and often gut wrenching. There were many inspiring and Christ glorifying moments in his life, but what amazed me was not just the resiliency to suffer for Christ's name but the love for and fervor to witness to both his torturers and to other prisoners as he suffered. He writes, "A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their terms. It was a deal: we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching; they were happy beating us - so everyone was happy."

Not every story was inspiring though. Some broke my heart with how professed Christians turned from Christ. But considering the horrific sacrifices some had to make to follow Christ not only for themselves but for their children (you'd have to read it to understand it), I'm not sure I would have been able to do much different. How willing am I to sacrifice my life or my children's lives and suffer for Jesus?

Could I be like John and Peter who rejoiced "that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name" after they had been beaten in Acts 5? Am I even living for Christ strongly enough so that I exemplify an "aroma of Christ" that to those who are not Christians is an "aroma of death" (2 Cor 2:14-16)? For Jesus said, "If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20).

Thank God for those faithful saints who are an aroma of death, who do rejoice when they suffer for Christ's name, and who are martyred for the glory of Christ. I will be thankful for them more and pray for them more. In recent years, it is estimated that 160,000 Christians are martyred every year.

If you are interested in reading it, Voice of the Martyrs is giving out free copies of Tortured for Christ - www.persecution.com

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bowling

Last week, we tried out the bowling alley here in town. It was the first time everyone got to bowl a game and it was free because we had coupons! I doubt we'll ever hit 300 or even 200, but we had fun.
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Emery enjoyed her first game ever.
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And Andrew showed some of his other moves.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pajama time!

As I was looking for a specific pair of pajamas for Matthew the other day, I noticed that his drawer was awfully full with many sets of pajamas. That inspired this photo collection:





Buzz Lightyear PJ's










Firetruck PJ's











Helicopter PJ's











Camouflage PJ's











Astronaut PJ's












Space PJ's










Doggy PJ's







Do you think he has enough? In fairness, some of those are long johns and not really PJ's. But Emery sums it up perfectly...
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Friday, November 21, 2008

What does daddy do at work all day?

Sandy posed that question to the boys and girl recently. Here's what they said:
Andrew: He tells people about the Bible.
Matthew: ummm...Legos?...I don't know.
Emery: He teach Andrew.

I'm glad one of them knew the right answer! Here's what I've been doing lately (when I take a break from the Legos) and just finished today - www.flinthillschristianchurch.com - It's been quite the project, and I've learned more about web sites than I ever wanted to know. Hopefully, it will be helpful to our church and used of the Lord.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bye grandma...again

Sandy's mom came out for the week. It went by fast. But the boys and girl had a great time with her as usual. They did a lot of playing, shopping, and even some reading.And on a separate note, today is a fabulous day with highs in the 60's - wa-hoo! The little ones had a nice picnic on the front step - yum!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Star Wars

I'm not a huge fan, but I am a fan. Yet, I have not exposed Andrew to the ways of the Force. Somehow though, the Force seems to have found him. He has never seen a movie but he knows a lot of the characters and some of the storyline already. I guess the Force is strong in him.He made up some Star Wars cards. Matthew helped.Here are the cards closer up (from left to right, top to bottom): General Grievous, Darth Vader, The Emperor, ??, R2-D2, and not a storm trooper but a clone trooper.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

You know your grandma's cool when...

She gets you tats! Tattoos that is.Can you tell the kiddos love them? Sandy's mom is in town for the week and that has meant lots of fun and gifts for the boys and girl. And on a separate note, thanks for everyone's concern and prayers for my health. By God's grace, I am all better. Praise God!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rats!

No, not real ones. But 3 cute and not as furry ones were seen scampering around the house.Here they are proudly showing off their lovely striped tails.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

3 benefits of sickness

I've been battling what seemed like a common cold for over a month. Every few days I'd get better, then I'd try and get back to normal and regress. Then I'd take a couple of days resting or off, and go through the cycle again. I tried vitamins (lots of vitamin C), anti-oxidants, OJ, Airborne, Cranberry juice, green tea and chicken soup. I finished off a bottle of Nyquil, almost a bottle of Dayquil, TheraFlu, almost a bottle of Advil, a bag of cough drops, some Sudafed, some Benadryl, a little bit of nasal spray, and now I'm on some antibiotics as my cold turned into bronchitis.

When it turned into bronchitis, it knocked me out hard for over a week and I am now just getting back to the routine. In our 11 years of marriage, Sandy can't remember a time I have been so sick for so long. Although this has not been a long term illness and not debilitating by any means, it has been quite a doozy for me. But through it, I've managed to benefit in a few ways:

1. I have a new appreciation for the difference between God and man. You always know it in your head, but I appreciated anew how fragile my human body really is. In contrast, God never gets sick. He never feels bad. He never is less than 100% perfect. He will never change and never physically decays like my outer man which seems to be decaying extra fast lately.

2. As I lay around helpless, Sandy took care of our kids and me. I tried to help, but physically couldn't. I contributed nothing to her. If anything, I was a drain as I created more work for her. She truly loved me unconditionally as I did nothing positive for her. I realized that my spiritual state before God was the same thing. I contribute nothing to God. I can do nothing honorable or worthy or acceptable to Him. The difference is that Sandy had hope that I would get better and start to get back to my old self. God knows that there is no hope for me to ever do anything good for Him. And yet He gave His only Son for me by His grace. I have been humbled physically and spiritually this past few weeks.

3. Most of the time, I was coughing. Lots and lots of coughing. It gave me a great ab workout. Hardly worth it, I know.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Simple times

Everyone tells us to enjoy these times and that the kids grow up too fast. This is one of those times...just hanging out in a box.I found them having a good time by themselves.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Give thanks to the Lord...

I told the kids to clean up, and they did. They just happened to start singing spontaneously which is not uncommon around here. Emery does it the most, and I hope she never stops. It's a bit tough to make out what they are saying so let me help you out - Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Quiet

Do you ever feel like it's too quiet in the house? Usually, that means trouble and a big mess. So I went looking around the house ready for some big problem. But thankfully, the kids surprised me in a different way. This is what I found them doing...
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As you can see, Andrew is starting to read and everyone is enjoying that!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Our little diva

Emery has grown quickly into our family diva. Since we got used to a certain way of parenting with the first 2 boys, it always seems to take me, especially, by surprise when she acts like a little girl.Whether it's the clothes or the hair...
Or the accessories, she can be somewhat particular. But she always has the cutest way of doing things and expressions that just melt me. I guess this is normal dad stuff with their daughters, but it's new to me. For example, we were talking the other day about nicknames as I always call her "sweetie." So she says, "I'm your sweetie and you're my daddy!" Forever.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Harvest Party 2008

The boys and girl had a fabulous time at our church Harvest Party...1 mutant ninja turtle named Leonardo, 1 firefighter, and 1 cowgirl - we have an eclectic bunch, don't we?We also did some pumpkin carving. Drew really loved cleaning out the seeds!
And here's one more of the girl! Isn't she a cutie?!