Sometimes we need to get away for our own sanity!
Sometimes we need to get away for our own sanity!
Sometimes we need to get away for our own sanity!
Fun Times with Dad: Playing basketball with my sons. The benefit of having two sons, is that when the older son starts to catch up to you and beat you once in a while, you still have the younger son to beat.
There are so many benefits to reading. Instilling in your children a love of reading will go far in benefiting them throughout their lives. Even in books that you read for pleasure contains a lot of educational material. For example, I recently started reading Five Presidents by Clint Hill. In it he describes the incident of the U-2 cover up that took place when Eisenhower was president (Note: this has nothing to do with the band, U2.). I’m sure I learned something about it in school but reading about it in the form of a personal story helps to understand it better.
Use reading as a reward for your kids. Listen in to this episode about how to do this.
The Cubs are 41 games over .500 (at the time of this recorded episode). All the areas seem to be clicking along this year, the pitching, the hitting and the defense. This is an young and exciting team to watch. The two pitchers that lead all of MLB in ERA start for the Cubs (Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester). Their run differential (runs scored – runs allowed) is ridiculous at around +230.
Here’s to hoping the Cubs can make a deep run in the playoffs this season!
I spent a recent Saturday scraping and repainting the outdoor trim around the doorways of our house. I don’t care too much for painting but it was past time for it to be done. The paint was chipping and the trim was starting to look pretty shoddy.
So I scraped and scraped and then I sanded and sanded some more. Then I painted carefully easing the brush along the trim. Then I grabbed the wet paper towel and dabbed the paint that got on the siding.
As I was working on this job, I thought about how this related to relationships. Consider marriage, for instance. When a couple gets married, everything is new and fresh, like a new paint job. But over time, the relationship gets weathered. Thunderstorms come along and pound against it. Winter comes along and brings its icy chill. The summer sun beams its heat on the painted surface. Season after season the paint job endures the changing temperatures and various weather conditions. Soon enough the paint starts to chip away and you need to give it some attention to get it back to what it looked like when it was new.
So it is with our relationships. Stuff happens. A baby comes along. A job change. A financial challenge. Another baby or maybe a miscarriage. A fight. Hurt feelings. Stress upon stress. Soon enough the paint starts to chip away and you need to give it some attention to get it back to what it looked like when it was new.
I am not going to go to the hardware store every Spring to get a quart of paint to freshen up the outdoor trim. But I am, or I better be, going to the flower shop or leaving a note for my wife occasionally throughout the year to let her know how much I love her. You don’t have to freshen up the trim too often to maintain it. But you do need to tend to the woman God gave you as your life partner.
My wife and I have never been consistent with a weekly date night but we do make time to talk most evenings. We have regular prayer time together and we get away alone together once or twice a year.
We have our disagreements and stressful situations and challenges like every couple does. This is all the more reason we need to be intentional about taking time together to maintain our relationship.
How long has it been since you last took your wife out for dinner or even out for coffee? I understand your life is busy. Schedule it in. Make a personal appointment. Make it happen.
Jami Kaeb founded The Forgotten Initiative in 2011. In this episode, I talk with Jami about how it all started. Jami and her husband, Clint, have seven children, five of which came through adoption.
The Forgotten Initiative focuses on the foster care community. Jami shares her story about how she discovered the needs of this community and what she did about it.
Something initially piqued her curiosity about this community. From there, she took it to God in prayer. Having prayed, she made herself available. And finally, took action to help.
I appreciate this takeaway from our conversation. This is how God moves in us if we are open to the work He has for us:
Curiosity -> Prayer -> Availability -> Action
There were plenty of challenges along the way as well, both emotional and practical challenges in meeting the needs of foster children. Jami shares challenges they faced along the way and provides advice for those who may be considering foster parenting.
You and your spouse may not be lead to be foster parents but there are other ways you can get involved and help too. Jami shares some specific ways to do this.
When making purchasing decisions, even “small” ones, determine if it is a Want or a Need. Take your time in making the decision. Sit on it for a day or two before buying and don’t make any spontaneous purchases. Also, don’t get sucked in to making purchases for TVs, furniture, etc, on a payment plan.
Drive an “older” car, buy used vehicles, don’t lease. Build up your savings for making bigger purchases. Count the cost and recognize it is hard sometimes but set financial goals and work to achieve them.
Discipline yourself when handling your finances. Don’t spend money you don’t have. Be careful with credit cards.
Brandon shares his parenting goal in “doing my job to return my son and daughter back to the Lord.” Our country can be great when we fix the family home and focus on the relationships with our spouse and our kids. Great families result from great marriages which is the foundation of a great country.
Links and Resources:
Brandon on Twitter
The Five Languages of Apology
Love and Respect
The Five Love Languages
Family Life Today with Josh McDowell
Financial Fitness is Setting People Free
In the August vlog, I talk about leveraging the team effort between you and your spouse. God made families with a mom and a dad for a reason. Check out this month’s video!
We touch on a bunch of topics in this episode as I welcome “Trevor” to the podcast. Trevor is a foreign exchange student from Great Britain.
We talk about differences from our two countries such as driving on the opposite side of the road, parenting, the Olympics and some of our favorite events and favorite athletes, baseball and the recent 11-game winning streak for the Chicago Cubs, getting ready to start school for the year, food and viral videos.
Hard Work Brings Reward ~ Trevor
This is a fun and light episode as you might imagine it would be with a 12-year old. Sometimes it’s good to kick back and have a chat with a kid.
Our family spent last week Gull Lake Ministries for vacation. I’m talked about Gull Lake on the podcast and have probably written about it before. It is one of our favorite places to go on vacation. The culture they have created there is second to none. The counselors are amazing, the food is delightful and the Bible teaching is convicting. My soul is restored after a week at GLM.
Our Bible teacher for the week was Pastor Steve Andrews of Kensington Church. Too often I come away from a week like this without doing much reflection on what I’ve heard and learned. I thought writing up a blog post on one of the teaching principles would help me process it.
Pastor Steve talked about some of the big lessons he has learned throughout his journey in life. The first one he spoke on was “Choosing Faith over Fear.” We live in difficult times. I say that, and yet, as I read books about other times in history, the same could be said for those times. So, even as “difficult” as these days are, I don’t know that they are any more or less difficult than the other times were. Certainly from the standpoint of “comforts” we have it easier but the culture seems to be ever changing and not always, or necessarily often, for the better. The difficulty in this is understanding how to deal with it as parents and how to lead our children through these days.
The text that Pastor Steve talked about came from Matthew 6:19-21:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
There is nothing for us in this world. Everything we have as believers in Jesus is in Christ. One of Pastor Steve’s pieces of advice was to “give your kids a bright, clear picture of the future in Christ Jesus.”
So, how do you do this? You lead your family. You lead your children. You demonstrate what it is to have a passionate love for the word of God. You live out your faith every day.
Pastor Steve made a point that really resonated with me. He said, “brokenness is stronger than pretend.” Being real makes a greater impact than faking your way through. As parents, we find it difficult to share our struggles with our children. But we need to believe that our kids, and our spouse, are stronger than we realize. Their shoulders are able to bear more than we think they can. So while we will hesitate to convey to them our struggles and burdens, as we share them at the appropriate time, it will deepen their faith.
Look for those moments when you can share something with your kids. While life in Jesus is awesome, it’s not always perfect. As they understand this, they will have more courage to share their own struggles. And so we help each other along as we pursue faith over fear.
Fun Times with Dad: When I was playing Monopoly with my kids the other night, I was charging rent to my son on a property that was un-owned. Sneaky, I know. He wasn’t too happy, but my daughter thought it was funny.
Benefits of First-Time Obedience:
The reality is, people that look like they have it all together when it comes to household chores for the kids, don’t really have it all together. In our home, sometimes the cat doesn’t always get fed, . However, it’s terrific to have chores assigned to your kids. Chores help kids learn responsibility and gives them ownership of their responsibility.
I haven’t played this new game that is all the rage this summer, but I will advise you, as parents, to do your homework on it and set some boundaries with it as with all technology, screen time, etc. Focus on the Family created a guide for parents on it that will help you in talking about it with your family.
Look, it’s almost August…again! Yikes, that summer flew by…again!
Listen in to this video blog on my back to school tips.