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Archive for the category “My Life- God in the Ordinary”

Valentines Day

I think that this has always been about the sappiest holiday for me. Don’t get me sweet, but this is a holiday that makes you feel like you just can’t win. To be honest, it feels so,.. well forced. You are obligated by the powers of “commercialism” to go out and buy stuff to demonstrate your love for your wife, and if you forget a card or worse yet pull together something at the last-minute, that is your try to pull off as legit and she knows you forgot,.. well lets just not go there.

I mean come on, overpriced cards, chocolate, teddy bears and the pressure to buy buy buy, so unoriginal. However I do think that there are some redeeming qualities in regards to this Valentines Day. Maybe,.. it’s what we make it?

Valentines Day provides us guys a chance to tell our wives whats truly important.  It is easy to take her for granted, to forget the little things and lose touch with what brought us together in the first place.

An array of Valentine's Day-connotated candy d...
Image via Wikipedia

No matter how long we have been married, we can always work on our marriage. Use Valentines Day as a jumpstart to I pray that each of us recalls what drew us to each other.

THOUGHTS and IDEAS

  • Remember to say I love you Everyday
  • Never go to bed Angry
  • Find ways to show your appreciation
  • Guys,.. don’t try to solve problems,.. listen first,… be there
  • Remember you are in it together
  • Look for ways to make her smile and feel needed
  • Tell her why you love her
  • If you have kids,.. they are watching….
  • Take over responsibilities she doesn’t like from time to time
  • Leave notes to your wife hidden around the house in places she will find
  • Don’t do things like these only once a year,…

In Ephesians, Paul tells husbands to love their wives. He gives Christ’s relationship to his church as an example. He says that husbands should strive towards emulating the perfect love that Christ exhibited to us.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Eph 5:25

How did he do it,.. well ultimately,.. he died for her!

“We love because he {God} first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

The Involved Father

by Glenn Stanton

Fathers are just as essential to healthy child development as mothers. Psychology Today explained, “Fatherhood turns  out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of children.”1

Erik Erikson, a pioneer in the world of child psychology, asserts that a father’s love and a mother’s love are qualitatively different.  Fathers “love more dangerously” because their love is more “expectant, more instrumental” than a mother’s love. A father brings unique contributions to the job of parenting a child that no one else can replicate. Following are some of the most compelling ways that a father’s involvement makes a positive difference in a child’s life.

Fathers parent differently.

Fathering expert Dr. Kyle Pruett explains that fathers have a distinct style of communication and interaction with children. By eight weeks of age, infants can tell the difference between their mother’s and father’s interaction with them.

This diversity, in itself, provides children with a broader, richer experience of contrasting relational interactions. Whether  they realize it or not, children are learning, by sheer experience, that men and women are different and have different ways of dealing with life, other adults and children. This understanding is critical for their development.

Fathers play differently.

Fathers tickle more, they wrestle, and they throw their children in the air (while mother says . . . “Not so high!”).  Fathers chase their children, sometimes as playful, scary “monsters.”

Fathering expert John Snarey explains that children who roughhouse with their fathers learn that biting, kicking and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable. They learn self-control by being told when “enough is enough” and when to settle down. Girls and boys both learn a healthy balance between timidity and aggression.

Fathers build confidence.

Go to any playground and listen to the parents. Who is encouraging kids to swing or climb just a little higher, ride their bike just a little faster, throw just a little harder? Who is encouraging kids to be careful? Mothers protect and dads encourage kids to push the limits.

Either of these parenting styles by themselves can be unhealthy. One can tend toward encouraging risk without consideration of consequences. The other tends to avoid risk, which can fail to build independence and confidence. Together, they help children remain safe while expanding their experiences and increasing their confidence.

Fathers communicate differently.

A major study showed that when speaking to children, mothers and fathers are different. Mothers will simplify their words and speak on the child’s level. Men are not as inclined to modify their language for the child. The mother’s way facilitates immediate communication; the father’s way challenges the child to expand her vocabulary and linguistic skills — an important building block of academic success.

Fathers discipline differently.

Educational psychologist Carol Gilligan tells us that fathers stress justice, fairness and duty (based on rules), while mothers  stress sympathy, care and help (based on relationships). Fathers tend to observe and enforce rules systematically and sternly, teaching children the consequences of right and wrong. Mothers tend toward grace and sympathy, providing a sense of hopefulness. Again, either of these disciplinary approaches by themselves is not good, but together, they create a healthy, proper balance.

Fathers prepare children for the real world.

Involved dads help children see that attitudes and behaviors have consequences. For instance, fathers are more likely than mothers to tell their children that if they are not nice to others, kids will not want to play with them. Or, if they don’t do well in school, they will not get into a good college or secure a desirable job. Fathers help children prepare for the reality and harshness of the world.

Fathers provide a look at the world of men.

Men and women are different. They eat differently. They dress differently. They cope with life differently. Girls and boys who grow up with a father are more familiar and secure with the curious world of men. Girls with involved, married fathers are more likely to have healthier relationships with the opposite sex because they learn from  their fathers how proper men act toward women. They know which behaviors are inappropriate.

They also have a healthy familiarity with the world of men — they don’t wonder how a man’s facial stubble feels or what it’s like to be hugged by strong arms. This knowledge builds emotional security and safety from the exploitation of predatory males.

Boys who grow up with dads are less likely to be violent. They have their masculinity affirmed and learn from their fathers how to channel their masculinity and strength in positive ways. Fathers help sons understand proper male sexuality, hygiene and behavior in age-appropriate ways. As noted sociologist David Popenoe explains, “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home. Involved fathers — especially biological fathers — bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.”4

Copyright © 2004 Glenn T. Stanton. All rights reserved. International copyright secured

“Foster Home” or Just “Home”

I have briefly blogged before about the fact that I am in graduate school. I have been privileged to work with kids who are in the foster care system. I don’t know what you typically think of when you think of Foster Care, but my experience as a volunteer have been refreshing! Maybe you think of Annie or even more recently the Foster home from “Despicable Me” with sweet Miss Hattie. Did I say sweet? I meant Horrible Hattie and her box of shame! When I began my first internship there I didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea what the place was going to look like. I think I was expecting something like a barracks or a sterile environment or sorts. I am glad that I was wrong.

Well the organization I run with has a Miss Hattie, but she is just the opposite.  She ensures that the home in “Foster Home”, is the key ingredient.  These kids come from a wide variety of backgrounds, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, but when they come to the home, they are part of a family where they receive love, boundaries, attention, counseling, encouragement,… sometimes for the first time in their lives. It makes you angry when you hear the stories of what their “parents” have done to them or have allowed to happen to them.

This Group Home is colorful, inviting, filled with toys, books, games and lots of caring people.  These kids come for a few weeks or a few months, but they are all very special.  Some of these kids have never had 3 meals a day and snacks, their own toys, birthdays, been to a movie, or gone on a field trip,… it is truly a new world for them. Just as they are starting to get comfortable however, for many it is time to go. It’s hard to see them go to foster parents, it is easy to get attached and you have favorites, although you do you best to never show it, and you never say so, but its hard to see them leave, even if you know it’s too a good place.

All in all, you know that this is the best “home” some of these kids have ever been a part of and you fear for them when they leave. Kids are a product of their environment and sometimes they go back, the “family” that they came from, and you wonder if they will make it.

I think that this is the key lesson we aim to teach these children, “We are influenced by where we come from, but it never determines where we end up!”

I would have to say. at least where I am,.. you could leave the foster off the Foster Home and just say Home!

Tyler’s Surf Camp 2011

Tyler got to have a great time learning to ride the waves with his aunt at surf camp. He has never done this before and I have no skill whatsoever for surfing so I wasn’t sure how he was going to do. He said that he was a bit nervous the night before he went and when he came back he was thrilled. He had a lot of fun. Seems he got a nickname, “The Natural”. This was a four day camp to learn basic skills and the waves were great for first timers.  His aunt who took him longboards and surfs a bit so no doubt he learned a lot from her as well, plus he just loves to hang out with her. With any luck he will go sometime soon and maybe he will go to camp again in 2012? I am so proud of my son!!!!

Oh by the way, I hear that they will have a special guest next summer. He is supposed to have amazing skills. His wet suit is a bit different, but you had better not tell him you don’t like it. Check the bottom of the post for a sneak peek!

Down

Down

Yep Keep Going

Almost There

It should be a heroic summer!

10 Ways to Get Kids to Self Destruct

So how do you get your kids to self destruct and make a mess of their life in 10 easy steps? Well if you ever wondered its pretty easy.

10. Don’t invest in your marriage, let them know relationships are disposable.

9.  Make sure that they know you love them only if…..

8.  Teach them that the world “Owes Them” by doing everything for them.

7.  Allow them to just take for granted that evolution as taught in the classroom is true and that we are evolved monkeys, this provides lots of worth for life!

6.  Teach them that there are absolutely  “No Absolute”s, except for this one of course.

5.  Teach them that there is no right or wrong, it only matters what you “feel” about something.

4.  Spend as little time with them as possible, stay busy and enjoy yourself, they can entertain themselves.

3.  Let them know loud and often when they have messed up, forget telling them you love them, you don’t want them to get a big head.

2. Downplay education and critical thinking, they don’t need to be smart, just rich.

1.  Let them grow up thinking that they don’t need God, or better yet that there is no God, after all if God is real, we only accountable to ourselves!

“Ripped Off”

It is not unusual to have to learn hard lessons at a young age. Today my son Ty, had to learn one. At least hard for a 2nd grader.  He went to his summer club and they like to play with “Bey Blades”. If you are not familiar with them, they are essentially “high tech” tops, that “battle” each other in competitions. A month ago, Ty had zero, yesterday, he had 7. Today, when he went to bed, he had four. Someone had went into his locker and “Ripped Him Off”. He was quite upset.

However, we were able to talk about it later. I have to ,that I am proud of my son. Tonight he prayed for the kid that took his stuff and forgive him or her. I know it was hard for him to do so. I am thankful for his willingness to do so.  I know that there are much bigger life issues, but for him this is another step toward maturity.

God tells us that if we expect us to receive his forgiveness when we blow it, we need to be ready to extend forgiveness not only to our friends and family, because that can be easy.  Ultimately we need to be ready to offer it to people we don’t like, to those we would call our enemy, so that they wont remain so. And no matter what, whether or not the person returns your toys or not, you did what pleases God and you made me proud.

Maximum Impact

ONE SOLITARY LIFE

He was born in an obscure village

The child of a peasant woman

He grew up in another obscure village

Where he worked in a carpenter shop

Until he was thirty

Then for three years

He was an itinerant preacher

He never owned a home

He never wrote a book

He never held an office

He never went to college

He never visited a big city

He never travelled more than two hundred miles

From the place where he was born

He did none of the things

Usually associated with greatness

He had no credentials but himself

He was only thirty-three

While he was a young man,

The tide of popular opinion turned against him

His friends ran away

One of them denied him

He was turned over to his enemies

And went through the mockery of a trial

He was beaten and abused for crimes that were not his

He was nailed to a cross between two thieves

While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing

The only property he had on earth

When he was dead

He was laid in a borrowed grave

Through the pity of a friend

Nineteen centuries have come and gone

And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race

And the leader of mankind’s progress

All the armies that have ever marched

All the navies that have ever sailed

All the colleges that have ever taught

All the parliaments that have ever sat

All the kings that ever reigned put together

Have not affected the life of mankind on earth

As powerfully as that One Solitary Life

Fun Music for Downtime

Here are some bands that I love, alas they are no more. Actually, Reese Roper is the front man and he has been in two other bands, one is Roper,.. can you guess where they got the name. They put out one CD, and he is best known for his long running SKA band FIF or Five Iron Frenzy. Reese is an amazing lyricist who has songs of incredible depth about the compassion of Christ, such as “Under the Bridges”, and songs that demonstrate his extreme goofyness about math geeks such as Five Iron Frenzy’s “You can’t Handle this”, and finally a song about enduring love in Roper’s “Vendetta”. He has also been involved in “Guerilla Rodeo” with others from Relient K and the Supertones although it is a bit harder to find!

Lord Save Us From Your Followers

I saw this great documentary today by Dan Merchant author and “host” of this eye opening look at how non Christians look at Christians. Here is a summary from Dan’s website:

If you were to meet ten average Americans on the street, nine of them would say they believe in God. So why is the Gospel of Love dividing America?

Dan Merchant put on his bumper-sticker-clad jumpsuit and decided to find the reason. After talking with scores of men and women on streets all across the nation, and also interviewing many well-known activists in today’s “Culture Wars,” Dan realized that the public discussion of faith doesn’t have to be contentious.

As discussion of religion floods the media, the rhetoric is divisive, hyper, and most often, angry. With humor more common in a comedy-sketch program than a documentary, Merchant brings the sensibilities of someone who is deeply concerned with how his faith is being represented by others. Lord, Save Us provides a provocative, funny, and redemptive discussion that is sure to continue long after the credits run.

Add to that the nationwide man-on-the-street interviews with “Bumper-Sticker Man,” the Culture Wars game show, the “renaming” of St. Paul to New Leningrad, and a controversial and moving “Confession Booth” at Portland’s Gay Pride celebration, and Lord, Save Us From Your Followers delves into religious hot-button issues with candor, humor, and balance.

Engaging, unpredictable, and challenging, Lord, Save Us From Your Followers will change the way you talk about faith!

Questions: If you are a Christian, consider how your life looks to those outside the faith. Is it real, honorable, loving,l genuine, …. does it reflect Christ? I want mine too. This reminds me all the more that as Christians, we need to be IN THE WORLD,….. just not of it!

 

STORMS

Life can be so difficult at times. For myself I have to admit that often I wonder why God allows certain things. Is life fair? Well no, things are not fair. This is an argument against following God I hear often and it is an honest one if not a good one. Life is life and we must work through it whether or not we find it fair. The problem is that we think that God has left us alone to deal with it. Things such as the “impending” divorce, unwanted news from the doctor, the break up, the promotion that fell through, the death of a loved one, any news that seems to pound at us relentlessly. Why doesn’t he simply remove it and take us out of the situation? Where is he? If he was God and a good God would he not do so? Yet God knows us better than we know ourselves and he also knows that we grow through suffering. So are we alone? God knows that what we need is not to simply be removed from the storms that beat against us, but rather we need to know that we are not alone in the storm. I love this account of Jesus and his Disciples.

 

23 After Jesus left in a boat with his disciples, 24 a terrible storm suddenly struck the lake, and waves started splashing into their boat. Jesus was sound asleep, 25 so the disciples went over to him and woke him up. They said, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 But Jesus replied, “Why are you so afraid? You surely don’t have much faith.” Then he got up and ordered the wind and the waves to calm down. And everything was calm. 27 The men in the boat were amazed and said, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him.” Matthew 8:23-27 (CEV)

God demonstrates to us that he is not separated from us in our pain. He is not absent in our storm, rather he is in the boat with us. He is waiting on us to call out to him to calm our storm, relying on him to reassure us.

Paul suffered so greatly that he asked God to pull him from his “Strom”, his “thorn in the flesh”. We do not really know what it is, but Paul wanted it gone. He asked God three times. God could have removed it, yet again God knew that what Paul really needed was not a release from the storm, but to know that God was with him in his storm.

 

8 Three times I begged the Lord to make this suffering go away. 9 But he replied, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (CEV)

Therefore like Paul, we will have to live within some of our storms. One day all our storms will cease, but till then, we need to trust in the one who created the wind and rain. Trusting the one who stands at the beginning and sees the end. 

We will not always understand the storm, but we can seek to always trust God in the storm.

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