Monday, July 27, 2015

Future Missionary?

     Pictured above is my younger son, Everett at Myrtle Beach.  Everett is an interesting little boy with many endearing qualities.  He is not perfect, I would hasten to add.  At times he can be stubborn, headstrong and disobedient; however these traits are balanced with a desire to please, an extroverted personality and a strong sense of courtesy.  He generally tends to get along well with people of all ages and does want to help out.  While not the most athletic individual, he does persevere and is largely fearless.  That I fear may some time get him in trouble.  While we were here at the beach, he persisted in going into deeper water than he should have.  Though he is a good swimmer, he does not yet have the strength to overcome the power of the tides, and at times I had to go after him and pull him in.  That being said, I see many things in him that could eventually lead him to his goal of being a missionary on the mission field.  Expressing a strong desire to become a missionary, he has shown a real heart for the Lord and for people.  Recently he overheard my wife and me discussing an atrocity committed by ISIS.  He looked up at me and said, "Daddy, when I get big, I am going to be a missionary to ISIS.  I informed him that these people killed anyone trying to share the gospel with them.  He thought about that for a minute and then informed me that he would just wait until our soldiers captured them and then would share the gospel with them.  I am well aware that his goals could change over time; however, he does have a heart to share God's truth with others.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Family Fun



     Recently, our family vacationed in South Carolina with my wife's two sisters and their families.  While staying with my wife's sister and her family, our boys thoroughly enjoyed the time with their cousins and aunts and uncles.  Enjoying time in the pool with their cousins kept them engaged our first evening down in South Carolina.  The next day was a great day at Myrtle Beach where they had a fantastic time in the ocean after a tasty picnic lunch.  On the way back to my wife's sister's house, our boys and their cousin Steven, after an ice cream treat from McDonalds, fell into an exhausted sleep from which they would not rouse until arriving home.  The next day  the boys had a great time with the men playing wiffle ball in the back yard.  The fun would continue as Cousin Steven traveled back home with us to Maryland where he and my boys had wonderful fun playing together.  My boys love playing with their cousins.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Vacation in Myrtle Beach---Family Fun






      Last weekend we visited my brother and sister-in-law down in South Carolina for a few days.  While visiting, we went to Myrtle Beach for a day.  What a great excursion!  Wanting to be in a less crowded area, we went to a state park where we spent the day.  The weather was beautiful and the water was warm.   After the eight vicious shark attacks in North Carolina, we were a bit apprehensive, but fortunately, none showed up in our area.  We did stay a bit closer to the shore than we normally would have though.  My boys continued to venture farther out as the day wore on, and as the tide rolled in, we had some great waves to enjoy.  Matthew and Everett spent most of their time in the water although they also had great fun with their cousins, burying themselves in the sand as can be seen above.  Having great fun did not preclude exhaustion from setting in, and by the end of the day, Matthew, Everett and their little cousin Steven found our car a perfect place to get in a few zzz's as we drove the hour and a half back where we were staying.  It also gave us peace as we covered the miles back to my sister-in-law's house.  Shortened somewhat by my wife's doctor's appointment, this was still another great vacation for our family.

Proud of the Flag






     My wife became a naturalized citizen back in 2010 and has since always wanted me to buy her a shirt sporting the US flag.  When we were down in Florida, we were able to get a good buy on shirts for the family with the US flag on them.  She loves her country despite the fact that she violently disagrees with many of the decisions being made at high levels and enjoys showing her support by wearing a shirt with the flag.  Unfortunately for her, my boys could care less about making a fashion statement, so they are only in the photo to appease Mommy.  It is nice to know, however, that my wife is so supportive of her adopted country.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tooth Extraction



     My elder son, Matthew, pictured on the right in the red shirt has developed into a real Minecraft aficionado.  Discovering numerous books having to do with Minecraft online, he proceeded to buy as many as he could afford.  He gets only a tiny allowance and recently ran out of money to purchase more.  However, we do give him a dollar for every tooth he loses via the tooth fairy, a fairytale he sniffed out after the first time he received any money.
     Just yesterday he visited the dentist with his younger brother to have his teeth cleaned.  They took an x-ray, and the dentist told me that they would have to extract his two upper incisors because they were blocking his permanent teeth from coming down.  His mouth is a mess with teeth coming in at angles and some of his first teeth blocking them and not really loosening up.  These teeth seemed very firmly entrenched yet, so we made an appointment to have them both extracted on July 20th.  Now when it comes to anything causing pain such as pulling a tooth or getting a shot, Matthew almost becomes frantic, so he was a pretty unhappy camper going home.  To make all of this a little more palatable to him, I told him I would double the $1.00 and make it $2.00 per tooth when he had his teeth pulled.  That made him quite happy.
     Half an hour ago, he came to me and told me he had been able to get his fingernail under the edge of his tooth.  Five minutes later he came to me with a big grin to tell me I owed him $2.00.  I know that between now and July 20th he will do his utmost to earn his next $2.00 which I told him I would change to $5.00 since it would save the cost of extraction of his teeth.  Actually, I may just make it $10.00, but I don't want him to know that yet.  The best part of all this is that he now knows that having that tooth taken out by the dentist, if it comes to that, is not something to be dreaded.
    

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Devotionals in Proverbs

     For the past month,our family has been reading from Proverbs for our devotional time.  What better source for wisdom for our times than the book of Proverbs.  However, there comes the time when Proverbs gets into some sticky things for little boys.  A firm believer in the fact that our children will be educated about these sticky issues either from the world's perspective or from God's perspective in the family, I proceeded to take these issues and deal with them head on.  Spending our time discussing the chapters we read, I gave as much description and present day examples as possible.  Many times our devotional times would extend for as much as an hour with the boys asking questions and making contributions, usually from a very limited perspective.
     One of these thorny issues was the issue of the immoral woman which Proverbs spends a great deal of time on in the early chapters. As I started reading one evening, my elder son said, "Daddy, your read this last night." I responded that I had read something similar the night before but this was different and pointed out how often Solomon under inspiration addresses this issue, indicating that this was something to be taken very seriously.  I then explained how falling into the trap posed by immorality on the part of men and women in their relationships could very easily destroy their lives. A couple of  weeks later we were watching a movie together about a musician who started out with a Christian perspective on life and very nearly ruined his life when he got caught up with another woman.  Upon seeing this, at one point I mentioned to my sons that this was a good example of what Solomon spoke of in the Proverbs.  My elder son said, "I hope he doesn't fall into her trap."  A few minutes later my younger son identified him taking that very subtle step closer and said, "Daddy, he's falling into her trap, isn't he?"   I was pleased that my boys were able to identify these actions as being those which could lead tremendous problems.  I just pray that my boys will remember these lessons as they grow and remain close to the Lord.
     Just a final disclaimer, I try to teach my sons their responsibility in all this.  I don't want this to sound as though I lay all the blame at the feet of women. On the contrary, I try to build women up in their eyes and am quick to point out bad actions on the part of men.  Men have their own responsibility, and in the case of the movie we watched, I felt extremely bad for the wife of the man involved, so please do not view this as a sexist issue.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Year of Transition


     The 2014-2015 school year was a year of transition for our family.  I returned to the work force as a school librarian, Tess moved into her initial semester as a nursing student, and the boys returned to the Christian school where I worked as the librarian.  Leaving early to take my wife to school and returning to the school where the boys and I spent our days meant early rising every morning and long days.  There were long evenings spent on homework whereas when they were home schooled, they were able to finish all their work during the day because there were no extras.  One day after school, the boys were in the library at the end of the school day when my younger son complained that he was tired.  Not hearing from him for some time, I went searching for him and found him curled up in the corner shelf under my library counter where I had been working sound asleep.  Another day he went to sleep on the carpet, and the janitor who had come in to sweep was going to just get a broom to sweep more quietly.  I assured him that my son would sleep right through the sound of the vacuum.  Somewhat disbelieving, he proceeded to vacuum, and to his utter amazement, my son slept through it all. We had to make many adjustments, but overall it was a good year and the boys are anticipating another year at school this fall.

A Public Confession of Faith

 


 

     This last Easter we had the privilege of watching our boys both get baptized as a public confession of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Interestingly enough, both boys accepted the Lord while driving in the back seat of our car about two years apart, both during their fifth year.  Since they were only five years old, I never even mentioned baptism although the issue did come up from time to time in stories and teaching lessons.  However, I never suggested that they be baptized.  I wanted that to be a decision which would come from them when they were ready.  This must be a personal and voluntary decision.  In March of 2015, Everett broached the subject again in the car and asked if he could get baptized.  At that time, Matthew asked if he could be baptized too.  We assented after reviewing the meaning of baptism, and I contacted our pastor.  It just happened that the church was planning a baptismal service for Easter Sunday, April 1, 2015.  What a great feeling it was to observe our boys sharing their faith through public baptism on Easter Sunday!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Creating Memories




  
     Every year we attempt to take a special trip as a family to provide our boys with special memories and to broaden their horizons.  For this year's trip, we chose to visit friends in Florida while including five days at Disney World.  A great time was had by all despite oppressive heat and humidity.  One day the temperature reached a scorching 97 degrees.  The boys enjoyed all four Disney parks, especially the Indiana Jones show and the roller coasters, Splash Mountain, Mt. Everest, Thunder Mountain and Primeval World.  Even Tess enjoyed the roller coasters.  Enduring their Mom's wishes, the boys sat through shows such as Frozen, the Little Mermaid and Aladdin, enjoying themselves despite their evident distaste for anything feminine.  Riding out into the wilds on the Jungle Safari, the boys were fascinated and enthralled by the abundance of wildlife.  Equally captivating was the Festival of the Lion King.  All of us enjoyed Spaceship Earth and The Land in Epcot.  Everyone agreed that the vacation was great despite the long hours spent driving to and from Florida. . 
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