Monday, May 31, 2010

American Idol

Will the show last for another 10+ years? If it does, I think Emery wants to be on it.
video
Do you like the headphones? Apparently, they weren't that much help in keeping her on key. Isn't she reading her music very intently? This is what she was reading.I'm not exactly sure when Emery learned that you read notes to make music. She tried to do it on her own first. But only succeeded in making a tripod. Then she asked me to write down the stuff you make music with. So I wrote a few notes for her to get her started. 6 pages later, we had a lot of singing to do...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rumble in the Emporian Jungle

Apparently, we live in a rough neighborhood...But you should see the other kid...No. Andrew just got bit on the eyelid by a mosquito...don't worry mom. And Emery had a little swingset accident. But everyone's fine...and our neighborhood is quite safe.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bunk beds

Technically, it's a loft. The boys were in a loft (also that I made) for 2 years before we moved to KS but wanted to have separate beds when we moved here. But recently, they asked for bunk beds again. So today, we had a work day."We" worked. But one of us did most of it. Though the boys and girl did lend a hand...or a bottom to keep the wood in place while I drilled.Matt really wanted to use the power saw. We compromised.Here's the before picture.Ta-dah! Don't worry mom - it's really safe. I built it with 2x4's and attached it to the wall. The only thing that will move it is a tornado.The other side of the room...before.And now we have room for Matt to have a desk of his own. The little guy is ready to start writing and doing some real school work.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It tastes like summer

In April, we planted 25 strawberry plants. They didn't look very impressive as you can see.But with some watering, some weeding and lots of spring sunshine, they grew.We harvest our first crop of strawberries. We had heard that you're not supposed to eat the first crop, but we couldn't hold ourselves back! I wish I could say that they were sweet and succulent, but alas, they were a tad tart. Hopefully, next year, they will be different.We've also been busy with some tree trimming,some flower (peonies) arranging,and the occasional picnic! It's summer, right?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

#12 - The Complete Husband

I just finished The Complete Husband by Lou Priolo.
The introduction begins, "The book you're holding in your hands is probably going to hit you right between the eyes! It may disturb you greatly. It will, no doubt, convict you of things you had no idea were wrong in your life...Reading it, you might be tempted to say, 'This is impossible! Nobody can consistently do the things written in this book!'"
That introduction pretty much sums up what will happen to you if you read this book. It is probably the most direct and challenging book I have ever read about being a husband. It's hard to read this book and simply say that was interesting and leave it at that. Priolo gives explanations from God's Word as to how husbands should be and what they should do. But he doesn't let it end there. He then exhorts and challenges husbands to live it out, to talk with their wives, to be that husband and to do those things with practical lists, questions and exercises that FORCE you to follow through.
Reader be warned - don't pick up this book unless you are willing to change your marriage. This is a good book too for husbands and wives to read together for two reasons. First, it is helpful if wives understand what husbands are trying to be and do according to God's Word. It will help husbands to have the understanding and support of their wives. Second, there are a lot of exercises that husbands and wives are to do together. They will be more fruitful if wives know why they are doing these things.
However, I do think it is best for those who have some marriage experience - that is, who have gone through some struggles as husband and wife - probably for those who have been married at least 5 years. If you have not been married for that long, you can still benefit from this book, but it will make the most sense for marriages that are more seasoned.
This is also a good resource to return to. You can't read through it once and feel like you've got it all figured out now. I plan to return to this book and re-read it every 2-3 years.
This book was encouraging to me because it exhorted me to do a lot of the things that Sandy and I do regularly on our annual Lee Family Retreat. It was gratifying to read a "famous" pastor / author / counselor who encourages others to do the same things I am trying to do. Also, it was good to read about new things that I am not doing that I can try out too.
We read through this book in my men's small group and everyone (married 10 years to 50 years) really enjoyed and benefited from this book.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mighty to save

A friend of the boys and girl just sang Mighty to Save for her talent show recently. It got the kids very excited about that song. They've been wanting to sing / play it for a while now.
video
The actual words of the chorus are "Forever, author of salvation..." but if you listen closely, the kids think it is "Arthur of Salvation." Emery knows that Jesus has several names such as Emmanuel and King of Kings, etc. She told me this morning that Arthur of Salvation is one of Jesus' names!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

KC Royals

Thanks to a friend who got free tickets from his company, Andrew and I got to visit Kaufman Stadium for the first time and watch the Royals play with him and his son.It was a gorgeous day, and we had fabulous seats.It was a nice place to watch a game though I don't think Andrew was as interested in the game as he was in the snacks that mom packed for us - pistachios, applesauce, strawberries, Pringles, and cheese & crackers. Plus I let Andrew get a cookie ice cream sandwich.Today was some good father son bonding. I think Andrew was most impressed that the scoreboard was in the shape of a crown.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Exodus 20:15

A few weeks ago, we noticed a stool right in front of the shelf where we keep the candy. As I was putting the stool back, I also noticed a jolly rancher on the floor. Guess who didn't cover their tracks very well? Emery and Matt.

Despite a very thorough talking to and appropriate consequences, it happened again. Only this time it was Emery and Andrew who were guilty. Guess who the master mind is behind the capers? That's right, the youngest - our 3 year-old girl. Candy is definitely one of her biggest idols right now. So, I decided to pull out the big guns...the 10 commandments - THOU SHALT NOT STEAL...
video
Obviously, they don't seem too excited about the verse...it has yet to penetrate their hearts.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

#11 - Gospel-Powered Parenting

As a father of 3 young children, my world is parenting from the moment I get up to the moment I fall asleep, and sometimes once or twice through the night on top of that! And according to the Bible, God-centered parenting is the primary means that He chooses to raise up the next generation of born again Christians to give Him glory in this world and in the life to come.
William Farley's book, Gospel-Powered Parenting, does an incredible job of explaining how the Gospel should be at the core of our parenting. Farley explains how crucial it is to teach your children to have a proper fear of God which comes through believing the Gospel which is the only way to experience the joys and blessings of God.
I actually had a substantial blog post but my internet crashed and I lost it all! Here's my best attempt to re-do a few quotes from the book:
  • ...effective parents understand new birth. Statistically, most Christian parents assume their child's new birth. This could be your biggest parenting mistake.
  • The bottom line is this: New birth is known by its fruits, not by a decision. The most important fruit is hunger for God himself. Effective parents assume this, and patiently wait for sustained fruit before they render a verdict.
  • New birth normally comes to children through the teaching, example, and relationship that they have with their parents, especially their father. Parents are God's means of grace given to effect the child's conversion.
  • In a God-centered family, everyone serves God by submitting to the authority over them. The husband focuses on pleasing God, not his wife. The wife focuses on pleasing God by submitting to her husband's authority rather than pleasing her children. The children please God by honoring and obeying their parents.
  • Transferring morality is the primary goal of secular parenting...By contrast, the goal of Christian parenting is heart transformation...Tedd Tripp notes, 'A change in behavior that does not proceed from the heart is not commendable, it is condemnable.'
  • Gospel-Powered Parenting will emphasize the parents' relationship with God, with each other, and with their children, in that order. The emphasis of this book is that parenting is not primarily about doing the right things. It is about having the right relationship with God - a relationship informed by the gospel.
  • Have you ever notice that most books on parenting - Christian and secular - emphasize technique?...This book will take another approach. I want to change your thinking, especially how you think about God and yourself. If I am successful, the techniques will take care of themselves. That is because what we do is a by-product of how we think. People change their behavior as their understanding of God and man changes.
  • The most important example that parents possess is their marriage. Our marriages preach. They preach a message that either attracts or repels our children...God wants your child to watch your marriage and think, 'I want a marriage like that, and I want the God that produced it.'
  • [Quoting an article from Time magazine] 'From the Reformation until the 1830's most parenting manuals were written for fathers. Before this time, society assumed that mothers were assistant fathers. Now it is assumed that fathers are assistant mothers.' Why did previous generations assume the father's lead role? Because culture assumed that the Bible was the primary instruction manual for parents, and the Bible addressed its parenting instructions not to mothers, but to fathers!...When men assume their proper role, parenting thrives.

I could go on and on. My book is starred and underlined all throughout. I appreciate how Farley puts parenting in its proper context. He explains the relevant biblical texts, explains the importance of theology to parenting, uses good illustrations, useful statistical information and writes in an easy to understand manner.

I recommend this book as a must read - top 3 in terms of a foundational parenting book. Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp and Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle would be the other 2. There are many other good parenting books out there that are more specific, ie - books explaining how to discipline children, how to parent teenagers, etc. As parenting is so complex and so different for each child and each stage of life, no 1 book covers it all. But this one sets an exceptional biblical, Gospel centered foundation.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Not the only baller

Andrew LOVES basketball (click here to see Andrew 2 years ago). And while Matt tends to tolerate basketball more than like it, apparently he can play it...a little.
video
I've always thought Andrew was more athletic than Matt, and he probably is. But Matt is making baskets on the "big hoop" at the same age (5) that Andrew started to. So maybe we'll have 2 future Lakers...that is if their careers as fire fighter paramedics at the Emporia Fire Department doesn't work out.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The mayor

Yesterday, we took the boys and girl to meet the mayor of Emporia - Jim Kessler.Actually, we took the boys and girl to tour the recently renovated Fire Station #2. We didn't realize we'd get to hob knob with all of the civic leaders of Emporia at the same time! We also got to tour the fire station, go into a fire truck and meet some fire fighters. We also got to learn about a possible career path for our boys - fire fighter with paramedic training. Sandy and I are always on the look out for possible careers for the boys and girl. We grilled the fire fighters with all sorts of questions about necessary training and qualifications, work schedule, job security, etc.We learned a lot AND it was a fun time for all with the Emporia Fire Dept.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

2nd grade

Yesterday, Andrew finished 2nd grade! Sandy home schooled him using the exact same curriculum that they use at the Christian school where, Lord willing, he will return next fall.It was his first and probably last year of home school. I am very proud of both Sandy and Andrew for this past year. It was a lot of work for Sandy, but I think Andrew grew a ton intellectually and more importantly, spiritually. He is beginning to see his schoolwork as a way to glorify God while developing discipline and a consistent work ethic. We want him to be a hard worker who tries to enjoy EVERY task he is given.So we celebrated with half price slushies at Sonic.Thumbs up baby!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What a night!

We had quite the thunderstorms last night. Hours and hours of thunder, lightning and rain. Trust me, I heard most of it firsthand...About a month ago, we planted all sorts of perennials and shrubs. Little did we know the power of Kansas wind. The wind literally was shredding our plants to death. So I set up a makeshift wind block to protect them. This is what happened to it after the storms last night. The wind pushed down solid metal posts!As you can see, it came that close to crushing our poor little plants! Thankfully all of these showers have given us some great flowers.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's day

This is a late Mother's Day post. We took it easy on Mother's Day. I had to get to church early so Andrew took care of breakfast - eggs benedict and fresh squeezed OJ - ha! Not quite. But the boys and girl all made lunch and dinner with a little help from me so mom could relax.We also made mom our traditional Mother's Day card / book. Andrew did the cover page. I'm not sure why our family is being robbed by a gunman and a pirate. But at least the pirate is happy.This is the first year Emery could write her name and draw something! She drew dots and circles last year.Matt did this page. Matt wrote, "Thanks for playing baseball." He and mom have "baseball camp" in the mornings.Andrew wrote mom his first poem ever! I'm not sure if Robert Frost started out this rough, but hey, I'm proud of him for trying.

And on a separate note, I am very proud of Sandy for giving her first message to a large group of women. She taught about the "Secrets of Submission" at our last women's ministry event - Women Equipping Women. If you want to listen, click here and enjoy! The boys and girl are blessed to have a great mom who teaches them God's Word and the ladies of our church!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Proverbs 3:11-12

The boys and girl needed a little reminder as to why we need to accept discipline with a happy heart.
video
My son do not reject the discipline of the Lord or hate his reproof. For whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. Prov 3:11-12
video
This was a good verse to remember for myself. Too often I tend to look at refining difficulties and struggles as bad. But these are the good and loving corrections from the God who delights in a sinner like me because of the glorious atoning sacrifice of Christ.
video

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Overnight getaway

Sandy and I snuck away to the big city while the kids weren't looking!We decided to try to get a deal on a cheap hotel in KC through Priceline for the first time. Unfortunately, Priceline didn't work for us but we managed to get a pretty good deal through Hotwire.We visited the BEAUTIFUL botanical gardens in Overland Park. This picture doesn't do it justice. There was a lake, tons of flowers, several gardens, miles of walking trails, and manicured lawns.Don't these roses look great? These are from the Lee botanical garden. That's not as nice as the Overland Park one.But we have strawberries and a very cute little girl to show them off.We also have radishes. Here's our first crop! Time to make some kimchee!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring days

The glory of God has been extra evident lately with some beautiful spring days.Sandy took the kids to the zoo the other day.The turtles love the weather too.And we had our first spring crop harvest! Lettuce and spinach! It was extra tasty.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The big city

We decided to make a run to the big city last week after all this small town life...The big city is brutal...so crowded with ducks and geese everywhere!We went back to the Deanna Rose Farmstead for kids in Olathe which is a suburb of KC. Ironic isn't it? We left real small town life to go to a city which emulated small town life.And we could have just gone to our friend's house for a pony ride too.But then, we wouldn't have gotten a cute picture like this. It was a great day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fishing

I decided to take the day off and go fishing today. The weather was absolutely beautiful.We floated in these little tubes, sitting on the back end and using flippers to paddle around. They work great and the fish were biting.Unfortunately, I wasn't very good at catching them. But I did manage to catch 8 - mostly blue gill. Regardless, it was still a lot of fun and very relaxing.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's me

Emery spontaneously started singing (as she often does) this morning so I decided to make her do it in front of the camera.
video
I thought she was extra cute in her pigtails.