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Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I love bicycling. Ever since I was a kid I have spent most of my free time bicycling. Our town's library was right across from our house and I used to spend hours biking around in it when the library was closed. When the library was open I would bike around town.
When I got into high school I became an even more avid cyclist. My youth group went on two cycling trips a year. We would bike 3-5 days riding 60 miles a day. In addition to that I would often bike 10-25 miles (one way) to visit various friends. Once I was there we would often go cycling.
When I graduated high school I volunteered for 3 years at my youth group and continued my biking frenzy. But in the past 22 years I have mostly rested on my biking laurels. I would occasionally go on a 30-40 mile trek but those treks became few and far between. When I moved to South Carolina in 1995 I went through great pains to bring my bike with me and then rode it a grand total of twice in 2 years. When I got married in 1998, I made great pains to make sure my bike fit into our apartments and rode it a grand total of zero times in three years.
Last year when I lost my job in July I started cycling again with some regularity. This year we made sure the whole family had working bikes. While the rest of the family has been doing most of their biking in a church parking lot on our block, I have been hitting the roads and bike trails of Kane and McHenry county. 10-15 miles at a time is now a grand accomplishment but I am finding that I still enjoy cycling as much as I did in those days of youth.
A little more than a month ago I was told by a facebook friend of mine about a bike ride that International Teams (IT) was putting together. IT is a missions organization that I was somewhat involved with back in the eighties. I say somewhat because my involvement was to train 3 months for a two year missions trip that I ended up not going on. My facebook friend trained with me and went on the missions trip. IT is very involved in sharing the Gospel in refugee camps throughout the world. They are really in the forefront of refugee ministry.
Their annual bike ride benefits refugees and refugee ministry and is aptly titled the RIDE FOR REFUGEES. The ride is being held in 3 countries over 2 continents. Bikers will ride 5-60 miles and will raise funds as well. The day I heard about the ride I had just completed my goal of biking over 100 miles this summer. Back in the day I would do that in the week, but 100 miles in 2 months is much better than zero miles in three years.
I decided I would do the ride this year. On October 3rd I am going to bike 30 miles which is 10 more than I've bike at one time in a decade. To prepare for the ride I've put on 100 more miles and have raised $260.00. My goal is $300 and anyone wanting to donate can contact me or donate on line by clicking HERE.
So to sum up, biking again after many long years away works, but making that biking count for others really works for me. To see what else is working head on over to WE ARE THAT FAMILY.
Next Time: Three Things Thursday.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
1. Passing the torch.
2. I am a former t.v. addict. When I was a kid it was very common for me to have the entire weekly t.v. schedule memorized. So, even though the only episodic t.v. that I watch is now through d.v.d.'s or over the Internet, I still get pretty psyched this time of year during the new Fall season. Most Thursday's I will make some television comment. This week I would like to say that I enjoyed last week's premier of Community on NBC. Carma over at Carma Sez panned the FIRST EPISODE. I can't say that I disagree with the points she made. But overall, I still liked it. I am not sure if this is because started my college experience at a Junior College or if it is because I am a big fan of Chevy Chase or maybe a little of both. The first episode had (for me) a laugh out loud moment when out of the middle of nowhere there was a zany reference to the Breakfast Club.
3. Last week I started going to a men's meeting at my church called Men's fraternity. It meets from 6 a.m to 7:30 each Wednesday morning. So far, I am quite enjoying it. It may also become common place for me to share snippets of what I am learning at Men's Fraternity here on Thursdays.
So there it is. A quick inaugural session of 3TTT here at it's new home. Please be sure to participate. Thanks again to Michelle for starting this up and I look forward to her participation here at Home School Dad.
Next Time: Pennies Winner.
Friday, September 18, 2009
I have written HERE before about Library Things Early Reviewer program. It's a great program. I especially like it because it gives me the opportunity to add books to my library without paying for them. Certainly, I need to review the books to better my chances of winning more in the future. But since I am at least as passionate about blogging as I am about reading, it certainly does make for fun on a budget.
My most recent free book from Library Thing, The Man Who Loved Books Too Much. It is the fantastic but true account of a criminal stealer of books, the used book seller turned detective who brought him to justice, and the author whose own obsession threatens to impede the impartial chronicling of the story and make her a character in the tale as well.
The second obsessed character chronicled by Bartlett is Ken Sanders, the lapsed Mormon turned bookseller turned detective. Sanders is obsessed with justice. While he is very eager to share his stories of how rampant and destructive thievery and fraud is in the rare book industry, he is very reluctant to have Gilkey portrayed as anything other than twisted and depraved. His obsession with justice is so strong he often asks Bartlett if her readers will find him more crazy than Gilkey.
Finally, the third obsession is that of Bartlett, the chronicler of this tale. While Gilkey's obsession is collecting books he can't or won't pay for, and Sander's obsession is keeping legitimate collectors safe, and bring illegitimate ones to justice, Bartlett's is more difficult to define. Her obsession is with collecting their stories. In doing so she becomes so involved that Gilkey begins to show her "probably" stolen goods and confessing many crimes. He even tours a bookstore that he has stolen from with her. She gets so intertwined in his dealings that, she must seek legal advice to make sure she has not crossed the line from chronicler to codefendant. Her angst translates well to the page and adds to the readers' enjoyment.
In the books afterword (also a must read), says "this story had me under its spell from beginning to end." Many writers write stories that they are enchanted by, sometimes these stories are crushed under the weight of such enchantment. Bartlett deftly manages to mesmerize the reader under the same spell. I recommend it for your collection. I urge you to pay for it.
To see more SIX WORD SATURDAY go to Show my Face dot com. Also get ready to participate this coming Thursday in Three Things this Thursday.
Next Time: I thought we all knew the President's address.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Next Time: 3 Things This Thursday.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
"Do you have to close your eyes to be married?"
Well yesterday we watched our wedding video from '98. We showed Lucy that yes our eyes were indeed open.
You bloggers know that every thing that happens in the life of a blogger reminds them of a good blog post idea. Well this most recent Lucyism was no exception. It got me thinking about the expectations we have when it comes to relationships.
When it comes to marriage, some people enter in with their eyes closed. They do this for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes it is simply not having a proper understanding of the differences between men and women.
I heard an excellent sermon series a few decades back by Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Church. He stated that men often compartmentalize their activities. When a young man is wooing a woman, he will pull out all the stops: candlelight, dinners, moon lit walks, poetry, flowers, candy, the whole bit. Hybels stated that after the wedding that the husband will now refocus those energies that he put into courtship, into advancing his career. So now the energies that were devoted to his fiancee are channeled into making a better living for them.
Hybels goes onto say that the woman felt that this "special treatment" was going to continue long through the marriage. When it ends the woman may begin to wonder if they married the right person. Hybels does it much better justice than I do, but the point remains opening your eyes to the inner working of the opposite gender especially of that special someone can make the transition from romance to honeymoon to marital life that much smoother.
Other times eyes are closed based, as they say in court room dramas, "from making assumptions not based on facts in evidence." By this I mean, for instance, if you are romantically interested in someone who has the second largest collection of Star Wars Action figures in the county, you shouldn't be surprised that once you're married, he continues to buy new ones week after week.
Many times closed eyes occurs from settling. People often feel that they have to lower their standards in order to find a marriage partner. Sometimes, as we will discover in a few paragraphs, they do need to as their "standards" were unattainable. Often, however, standards are lowered for no other reason than fear of being alone the rest of their life. I have seen teenagers lower their standards for this reason. Teenagers!
Here are two examples of what people should not settle on:
1. If you are a Christian do not marry an unbeliever. This is what the bible calls unequally yoked. The word picture is that of two different sized oxen plowing a field. Tethered together pulling in different directions, no useful plowing can be done. The same is true of the person trying to please God and the other trying to please only themselves. Don't just take their word either. Look closely at their life.
In applying for jobs when I was in college, I would often be asked how many words a minute I could type. Now I could have certainly exaggerated my WPM in order to have a better chance at the job. The thing was, that the employer generally followed up the application process with a typing test to determine my true WPM. This is a good practice in relationships as well, look for outward evidence of professions.
2. Do not marry anyone who is ever physically, verbally, or emotionally abusive. Too many people marry known abusers, thinking either they deserve the abuse or that they can change the abuser. If someone hits you once, the deals off. Don't think that you need to marry them because this might be your last chance. You need not to marry them for the same reason!
Other settling that can be avoided is marrying out of fear rather than love. The bible states that perfect love casts out all fear. I did not marry until I was in my mid 30's. Prior to courting Amy, I was getting to the point where I was considering lowering my standards. I t would have been easy for me to lower my standards and settle for less than God's best for me. Instead, I yielded my will to God. For the first time in almost 15 years, I felt at peace with the idea of being single the rest of my days. It was at that point that my eyes were opened to the possibility that my best friend of 7 years, could also be the woman I was looking for all my life. Amy also had accepted singleness as a gift rather than a curse and had chosen not to settle for something outside of God's timing.
As I stated before, sometimes our eyes can be too open. My older sister planned her wedding out for years before she ever met her husband. Specifically she had planned out all the songs that would be played at her wedding reception. I think she had 8-10 hours of must songs by the time she met Andy. Mercifully, not every must song was played at her wedding.
In the same way not every thing on your list for your future spouses attributes may need to be there. Over the years people change and what you felt was a must for a spouse when you were married could no longer be true 5 years into the thing.
As I have mentioned here before I plan on following a courtship model for my own children. This means I will be very involved in my daughters' and son's selection process. While courtship may not be for everyone,I strongly advocate the involvement of parents, other family members, and friends in the spousal selection process.
My lists for my childrens' spouses may be different than their own lists. This would be for 2 reasons: 1) As their father, I have a certain amount of insight into their character and their needs. 2) As a married man, I will have a better understanding of what is needed for a strong marriage than they would. I plan on taking advantage of the many opportunities I have to relate these insights to my children as they grow.
So no Lucy, you don't have to have your eyes closed to get married. I'm gonna keep my eyes open, on your behalf.
Next time: Four Weddings and a Funeral. Part III.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Listening to this song I was reminded of the verse in Jeremiah that says:
"My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." Jeremiah 2:13 NIV
When man rejects Jesus, God's own Son, who is the one and only way to the Father and then attempts to find peace, joy and happiness on their own, they are really digging broken cisterns (wells) unable to hold water.
Only the blood of Jesus can wash away our sins! Only the blood of Jesus can make us whole again. I am amazed by the grace of God that he would send his only Son to die on behalf of my sins. It is 100% God and 0% me and it humbles and elates me when I dwell upon it!
I am not usually this point blank in your face here in blog world. But since I firmly believe that I had no part in my salvation other than that as a recipient, I would be remiss not to Glorify God for the great work He has done.
Next Time: Another Lucyism
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Agua only August was more difficult and less rewarding for me than No junk food June had been. The truth is, in my wife's vocabulary, I am a drinkaholic. I am constantly drinking something. More often than not it's a soda. Because of the HFCS in most sodas, I have switched to diet. But those also have a boatload of chemicals in them. So I decided to give them up entirely for a month and drink only water.
The problem was that I often forgot to drink water and I was eating a load of fiber, so I was often bloated. I finally got into the swim of drinking only water, but it was still difficult. The hardest time was the weekend we went camping. When I was a kid, we were never allowed to drink pop. Except, I should say, on special occasions. Camping was one of those special occasions and for 4-5 weekends and 2 full weeks every summer we drank pop, and plenty of it. As a result, it seemed unnatural for me not to drink pop on the trip.
Before I get the nasty comments that I received for turning the TV off for the summer or having the whole family forgo sugar and junk food in June, let me say that the water restrictions were for me only. Amy and the kids were free to drink what they usually drink.
A little less than 1/2 way through August, Amy handed me some concoction she had made in the blender and asked me to try it. I am often sampling her wares so the request was not unusual. A few minutes later I realized that I had just drank something other than water and was very upset I had not met my goal.
Amy assured me that what she had given me was not technically a drink. It was a smoothie composed of bananas, blueberries and strawberries with no other liquid added. She said it was the equivalent of eating those fruits and should not count against me as a beverage.
Well if she was wrong, I certainly will not be the first man to be misled by his wife as far as fruit is concerned. What she said made sense to me and I "drank" several of her smoothies over the remainder of the month with out being paralyzed by guilt nor shame.
In these first few days of September, I have had 1 or 2 sodas and a few glasses of milk. The August experience has taught me that if I can knock off pop entirely for a month, that I should be able also to drink it in moderation. While it is nice to have more choices available, I am finding that I am reaching for water more now than I would have before.
Next Time: Six Word Saturday
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Today is my little bunny girl's 10th birthday. As far as bunnies go she is not very fast. She went form zero to ten in ten years!!!
That is my sad sad story. Jeremy Jumping Hare doesn’t want to be my friend anymore. He and I have been best bunny buddies since we could hardly hop. If I can only have one friend over to stay the night, it is always Jeremy. When I buy bunny ball cards, I always give my doubles to Jeremy, even if he doesn’t have any good trades.
"Even if we can’t be friends any more I want you to have your eggs."
Jeremy takes the eggs and the card and says we can still be friends. I’m going to see him tomorrow at Emma’s party!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
WFMW is having a special themed edition on organizational tips today. Organization is not one of my strong suits as my title suggests. My late brother made that wry observation once, noting that while I often had an elaborate organizational system nothing ever seemed to get where it was supposed to be.
So why am I just not laying low until next week? A good question. I think what I want to share today is what I would title as a "Works For Me" in progress, something that I chronically struggle with but hope to subdue someday.
Here are some ways I am trying to get Organization to work for me:
- Looking through the mail.
Before: Stopping everything I was doing to get the mail when it came in and invariably leaving junk mail and catalogues I "was going to get to" all over the house.
Now: Try to wait until I am able to deal with the mail to take it out of the box. Go through mail near garbage can so I can throw away all junk immediately.
Working On: To be able to deal with all mail in one setting putting bills and correspondence where they belong and disposing of rest.
- Keeping house in order.
Before: Leaving job after job 1/2 done with idea of getting to later. Dealing with cleaning and organization on as needed or crisis to crisis basis.
Current: Attempting to order as I go. Finding that I often still am under the command of the tyranny of the urgent. I also have tinkered with "multitasking" which usually ends with a 1/2 cleaned mess in every room and a frazzled and frustrated me.
Working on: To finish one job completely before moving on with another. This isn't to say that I can't have the lunch in the oven while I'm finishing the morning lessons. But the idea of helping one kid cook ramen, one with a computerized math lesson, and one with math at the table simultaneously while emptying the dishwasher is now a complete anathema to me.
- Involving the children with the household tasks.
Before: Spend most of my day coaxing the children to do minimal amounts of work and generally having to redo their work myself.
Current: Every one has a routine in the morning that is to be completed before school starts. I try to split up tasks like preparing for or cleaning up a meal so each child can participate to their abilities. I still find myself cleaning up after them much more often than I'd like.
Working On: Breaking responsibilities in component parts and assigning them in advance. For example: Emma is in charge of feeding the bunny and replacing his hay each morning. Charlie changes his water bottle. I empty the bunny's tray each day. Emma is teaching Lucy how to brush the bunny's fur and they will rotate that job. Charlie, Emma and I rotate vacuuming the area where the bunny's cage is. I also am working to have them complete a job without my intervention.
Next Time: Hoppy Birthday
Tonight's Episode: 7 Word September
NEWSFLASH: September is the ninth month of the year. September is the ninth We're all cool with that, right? Well, if September is the ninth month, why does the prefix Sept mean seventh? November has the proper prefix for ninth and it's the eleventh month. What's with that?
Well, September would be the seventh month, if it weren't for the Cesarean section of the calendar. July and August are name for those great rulers of old, Julius and Augustus Caesar.
Imagine you're on the month naming committee. You have 10 perfectly good names for months already; the last 4 actually mean the seventh through tenth months, respectively. Then the Emperor's people come in and say, "Hey! Don't forget about Julie and Augie. We need months for them too you know!
So, what do you do? The only way to keep the numbered months in their correct place is to put July and August at the end of the year. That doesn't work with the Emperor's people. Who wants to have a July pool party when it's 40 degrees out and all the leaves are off the ground and in the pool?
September through December don't mean what they're supposed to mean and every body's okay with that?!? I for one don't plan to sit idly by while September gets shafted. Here's what I'm doing about it:
All this month I will have September embrace it's seveness by titling all my posts with exactly seven words. I got the idea from Cate at Show My Face dot com. Each Saturday she hosts SIX WORD SATURDAY, where people sum up their lives in six words and then write 3-400 more to explain their six.
I was a little concerned about running with this idea for fear of stepping on her toes. I talked to her about it and she says her toes don't mind. I even have a special 7 word September/ Six Word Saturday tie in planned. Tune in Saturdays to see what I have cooking.
If you're not into minutiae, skip ahead to the next paragraph. As you may have observed, I end all my posts with a blurb about what is coming in the next post. I usually just write the title of the upcoming article. For September I will just say the upcoming subject. That way, no one will know the seven word title until the actual post, That's me, Mr. Suspense Builder.
Welcome back non minutiae people. If anyone, minutiae likers or not, would like to give September it's due you can try ant of the following:
- Title all your blog posts with seven words
- Give $7.00 to each of your followers
- Give away a copy of 7 brides for 7 brothers
- Start a petition to have 7-up produce a September 7 pack.
Next Time: WFMW Themed Edition