Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Time of Thanksgiving





      This Thanksgiving has been a very special day for us.  always have so much for which to thank the Lord, but this year has been special in many different ways.  As I reminisced over the last eleven months, I realized that we as a family have seen God at work in so many different ways.  We saw our boys take the next step in their faith by asking to be baptized.We thank the Lord and praise him for his work in their lives.  Then we saw him at work again as he turned a seeming disaster into good when our car needed major repairs.  We were able to purchase a new Honda CRV which has been better on gas and should give us a reliable car for years to come.  Then we were struck again by  major expenses to fix a large section of the back of our house which I felt we could not afford.  The Lord provided the funds and the person to complete the repairs.  Again we saw God's hand at work in Tess's schooling as she continues to work towards her degree in nursing.  We have seen God's hand at work in our family as he has allowed us another year of safety and health.  Finally, God has brought our family together this fall providing an opportunity for our boys to meet their grandparents from the Philippines for the first time in many years, in Matthew's case the first time ever.  These are just a few of the many things for which I am thankful.  To make a comprehensive list would be virtually impossible, but for all these blessings and many more, I say "Thank you, Lord!"

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Turning Our Words Back on Us!



     Sometimes kids come up with little pearls that can be both true and extremely humorous.  My wife has been studying nursing which is a rigorous program with basic requirements that are being raised almost every semester, probably due to a glut in the profession right now.  A passing grade right now is an 80%.  For someone who wants and has had a 3.7 average through her prerequisites, getting a B is now a struggle, so we hear quite a bit at home about her struggles.  The other day my sons' grades at school when we noticed a significant drop in my younger son's grades due to negligence in regards to his homework.  On the other hand, my older son had noticeably improved his grades.  My wife, in an attempt to encourage our younger son, said,  "Everett, you can do so much better.  You need to get your grades up like Matthew has his." Matthew very seriously joined in and said, "Yes, and Mommy, you should too." My wife and I looked at each other and could not help it.  We both burst into laughter, enjoying the moment.  Had he not been so serious when he said that, it would not have been so funny.  Sometimes our children can turn our words against us without really meaning to do that.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Birthday Party Highs and Lows



     For my son, Matthew, on his eleventh birthday the uppermost photo reveals one of the highs of his birthday party.  He received the book, Fuzzy Mud, which he desperately wanted after reading Holes, a book written by the same author, Louis Sachar.  He has really gotten into reading lately, a development which has both Mom and Dad thrilled.  A high and a low came shortly thereafter during a birthday game concocted by his uncle.  Starting with a full-sized brown paper shopping bag, each contestant had to bend over with one leg and both arms in the air and pick up the bag between his/her teeth.  After each round, a layer of approximately two inches was cut off.  Not realizing his limitations at the age of 35, Matthew's uncle bravely attempted to pick the bag up from about three inches off the floor, resulting in the low point of the party when he tumbled awkwardly to the floor just after the second photo was snapped.  For Matthew and one of his close friends, a high point was reached when they subsequently tied in the contest by managing to pick the bag up from the floor in the final round as seen in the third photo, giving them both a prize of $1.00.  This game proposed by his creative Uncle John added a whole new layer of entertainment and fun to his party.  I am sure Matthew will not soon forget his eleventh birthday party!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Forgiveness to the Extreme!

     At the age of ten, children tend to be very tender spiritually and open to spiritual insights.  The other night I was tucking my older son in after our evening devotions which dealt with forgiveness and we touched on some events which had transpired in his life recently involving forms of bullying. Matthew looked up at me and said very seriously, "Daddy, it would really be difficult to forgive someone who murdered me.  But I would have to forgive him because if I didn't, I would have to  live with it forever."  I did not bother to explain the obvious that if someone murdered him, he would not have a chance to forgive him.  Sometimes it is better to allow the child to internalize the idea that forgiveness is important, and when I refuse to forgive, I am actually hurting myself.  I am a firm believer in the power of forgiveness to cleanse hurts and repair relationships.   However, after I left his bedroom, my wife and I still had a good laugh.
      I just allowed my son to read this blog and asked him if he knew why Daddy got a good laugh out of that.  He was puzzled and replied "No."  I explained to him that if he had been murdered, then he would be dead, thus unable to forgive.  He looked at me and with no change of expression answered, "No, I was talking about you getting murdered." I was certain he said "me" when he mentioned getting murdered. Guess Daddy has to sharpen his hearing!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Out of the Mouth of a Child

     My youngest son just turned nine years of age last month.  This was his birthday cake which he thoroughly enjoyed.  At nine years old, he comes up with some really humorous comments without really meaning to be funny.  One evening at the dinner table, he was relating a story told to his class by the teacher that day at school.  In an attempt to impress upon her students the importance of compassion, she told them of an event that occurred in her life that week.  She had been out shopping and had stopped by a coffee shop when she noticed a woman who seemed very distraught.  Approaching the lady, she asked if she could be of any help.  This woman proceeded to tell her that her young daughter was afflicted by cancer.  His teacher  told the class how she prayed for the lady and her daughter in an attempt to comfort her.  As my son was narrating the story, he had a really funny blooper when he stated very seriously, "This lady's daughter had...I think it was...bra cancer." I chuckled, and my other son immediately spoke up and said "No, you mean breast cancer." Everett just brushed it off and completed his story, and to his teacher's credit, I know he internalized a lesson about compassion that day even if he did make a mistake while recounting the story.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

My Son's Scapegoat


     My son, Everett, who is now in the third grade, recently came home from school with this little hand drawn replica of how he pictures himself.  Proudly displaying this, he announced that this was he.  Lately, we have had a little problem with prompt obedience with him causing him to be the unhappy recipient of a couple of spankings.  Although we have been able to do less of this in the last year and a half, suddenly he has received a couple of well deserved spankings in the space of a few weeks.  After dinner the other night, he grinned up at me, chuckled a bit, and said, "Daddy, you do not need to spank me anymore."  Indicating his laminated picture mounted on a paint stick, he stated,  "You can just spank him instead."  Unfortunately, he  would later find out that the scapegoat concept does not work in our house.  Still, I had to give him credit for creative thinking!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Back to School



   

       My family is back to school again, all of  us.  Beginning her semester in MedSurge and Maternity and OB, my wife has already begun full bore.  It will be a busy semester for her at a time when her parents from the Philippines are coming to visit.  My sons are returning to Clinton Grace Brethren Christian School in the third and fifth grades.  They have gotten off to a good start and are enjoying themselves immensely.  My elder son has begun taking trumpet lessons which he is enjoying.  Once again I am in the high school library.  Since the beginning of the school year is when I get the most requests for laminating, I have been extremely busy. Added to that was the fact that I had to reload the printer on all of our computers in the library, and I have a large number of book donations to catalog.  However, the early part of the year is always a bit frenetic.  Things will slow down eventually.  Right now the challenge will be to develop a good routine with the boys here at home.
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