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TruthNotes

Timeless truth in a changing world

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Encouragement

When Everything Goes Wrong

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Yesterday was not my day. We have one of those faucets in our kitchen sink you can pull out on a little hose. Well, we had one. I came out from taking a shower to find that my toddler had broken it. Now it resembles a drinking fountain when turned on lightly and a fire hose shooting across the room when turned on full strength, thus rendering it largely useless. My son, who had been sick earlier in the week but felt better Friday and Saturday, was throwing up again. He’s old enough to leave at home during church, so the rest of us went without him. We returned home to find our house flooded. My first thought was the kitchen faucet, but no. It was the washing machine, which had overflowed. Awesome. So now I’m down a kitchen sink and a washing machine, two things I use a lot. My oldest son and I shop-vacuumed the tile part of the floor and used the carpet cleaning machine for the carpets where it had seeped into the rooms. We pulled up over ten gallons of water. I could have spent all day working on the carpets and steam mopping in the wake of the murky water, but that was not to be. I had to be at our church for the LWML fall rally, which we were hosting. So four and a half hours later, I returned home exhausted only to put in a few more hours on the carpets, and still they are sodden and nasty and have the distinct odor of a wet sock. Like I said, it was not my day.

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How to Raise Kids Who Care

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People lament that kids in America are selfish, irresponsible, and entitled; that a day without video games is unthinkable to most American children. So how can you raise kids who defy those odds? who care about others and want to help? who put others before themselves? By modeling this behavior yourself.

If you’ve ever wondered these things about your own kids, here’s an article I wrote for the website Raising Godly Children. It is possible to raise kids who care. It just takes some work on your part, and the article is full of suggestions to get you started.

Playing Second Fiddle

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Recently my son joined the high school marching band even though he’s only in the eighth grade. This is a great (and challenging) opportunity for him as he hastens to learn the music and the steps everyone else learned a month ago. In one sense this is, of course, a promotion. He’s moving up from the middle school band to the high school band. But in another sense he’s moving down. He went from being first chair trumpet in middle school to playing secondary parts with the high school, and that’s an adjustment for him. He’s used to playing the melody. The harmony for “Phantom of the Opera” doesn’t sound nearly as glamorous as the melody. My son is learning what it’s like to play second fiddle… er, trumpet.

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Intentional Living

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If you give a mom a free day, she’ll drop her kids off at school and come home to enjoy a cup of coffee. While she’s drinking the coffee, she’ll start to unload the dishwasher. As she’s putting away the glasses, she’ll remember that the dog needs food and water. She’ll fill his dish. While she’s outside, she’ll realize it’s a beautiful day. She’ll take the dog for a walk. When she comes home, she’ll take a long shower. As she’s getting dressed, she’ll discover she has no clean socks and get a load ready to throw in the washing machine. She’ll take out the clothes that have been in the dryer for three days and start to fold them. Halfway through, she’ll hear her phone ding. She’ll need to catch up on texts and emails. Then she’ll move to Facebook. A comment on Facebook will remind her of her favorite movie so she’ll decide to watch it. When the movie is over, her stomach will remind her that she hasn’t eaten yet. She’ll go to the kitchen to make a sandwich only to realize there are no clean plates in the cupboard. She’ll remember she still hasn’t unloaded the dishwasher. Instead she’ll take a swallow of her now-cold coffee as she glances at the clock to realize it’s time to pick up her kids from school. And chances are, when she gets the kids from school, she’s going to wish for another free day.

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Preparing for Harvey

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I was completely unprepared for Hurricane Harvey. Granted, we don’t live in the immediate danger zone, but being only a few hours from Houston, we knew we’d be getting heavy and persistent rains. The country roads in our area get washed out during heavy rain, and other roads flood, making them impassable. Kids basked in the novelty of having their first day of school cancelled. Flash flood warnings popped up all over. Towns not too far from us had forced evacuations due to rivers flooding. In the face of such inclement weather, certain preparations are advised. Stock up on food in case you’re stranded for any length of time. Make sure you have plenty of potable water on hand should your water be contaminated by the fallout. Keep bags of ice handy in case the power goes out and you need to keep your refrigerated food from spoiling. All excellent advice. And I didn’t do any of it.

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Surviving in a Hostile Environment

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I like to joke that I live in a hostile environment. As a Michigan transplant to Texas, I’m not at all used to the climate down here. It’s much hotter here, and the sun is a lot more intense. Some days I can’t get enough water. When the heat index is over 100 and the AC runs almost constantly just to keep it at 80, even being inside is dehydrating, and I drink water all day long. Summertime is downright miserable. My poor blonde-haired children are no match for the sun, so I need to be extra vigilant about protecting them, lest they burn or get dehydrated or get heatstroke. Like I said, we’re in a hostile environment.

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Expecting a Miracle

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The disciples should have been expecting it. After all, they’d seen Jesus do it before. But when it came down to it, they still doubted Jesus could fix the problem. Mark 8:1-4 gives the following account:

During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”

Sigh. Just two chapters ago, the disciples witnessed the feeding of the 5,000 with just five loaves and two fish. (Actually, it was a lot more than 5,000, since that number doesn’t include women and children.) What’s more, there were 12 baskets of leftovers. And now history is repeating itself. Another large crowd, this time 4,000 men plus women and children, again getting hungry after listening to Jesus’ teaching. But despite the fact that Jesus had already multiplied loaves and fish for an even larger crowd, the disciples balk at the daunting task of feeding so many people. Did they forget how Jesus had provided for everyone last time? Did they think He wouldn’t provide again? Where is their faith? And yet, we so often do the same thing.

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Predictable

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I started a new book the other day. By the end of the first chapter, I knew who would end up with whom and what seemingly insurmountable obstacle would be overcome in the course of the story. It was completely predictable. And yet I continued reading nonetheless, and thoroughly enjoyed the book. A number of books are like this (my own included, one might argue). We know pretty much from the get-go what’s going to happen. And this knowledge helps us through the conflicts and tensions that arise in the middle of the story. We read on, through painful setbacks and embarrassing scenes, knowing that things are going to turn out okay in the end. We trust that the author has the characters’ best interests in mind and will see them to a satisfying conclusion.

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Toning Up

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I used to have toned muscles. Many moons ago when we lived in a bigger city and had two less children, I belonged to a gym, where I split my time between the elliptical and the resistance machines. I went three or four times a week, and with regular use, my muscles got stronger and more toned. But when we moved I didn’t have a gym available, and with the addition of another baby, it was too hard to coordinate anyhow. So my muscles weren’t being used in the same ways, and therefore lost their nice toned look. Recently I noticed just how un-toned they are, so I determined to strengthen them again. I found an app that led me through various exercises, and I felt great doing them––wall push ups, overhead presses, triceps dips. Ah, it was good to be working the various muscle groups. But the next day, those same muscles were pretty sore, and I had to admit a harsh truth––I’m not as in shape as I used to be.

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