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Family

Off to a Bad Start

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The morning started off as any other. That is, badly. The kids were whiny. They didn’t want what I’d made for breakfast. Complaining abounded. They were being mean and insulting one another. I was irritated and prone to snap at them. It was not a great start to the day, and I certainly didn’t want to continue into the rest of the day with these attitudes. Something had to change, but I didn’t quite know how to go about that.

Continue reading “Off to a Bad Start”

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Why I Don’t Do Christmas Anymore

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I’ve decided I’m not going to decorate for Christmas anymore. I made the mistake of putting up our tree with the kids this weekend, and it was a disaster. While I’d love to be instilling happy memories for the kids in our annual Christmas decorating, I’m afraid the opposite could well be true. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that there was much fighting, and in the end we had two broken ornaments and two children in tears. So much for quality family time. Who needs this, anyhow? So I’m done. No more decorating for me.

(Click here to continue reading the original post from the website Raising Godly Children.)

One Big Happy Family


This weekend was bittersweet for our family. My father, a pastor, retired after forty years in the ministry. The last twenty-eight of those years he spent at the same church in Michigan. He took a call there when I was in the fifth grade. I consider it my home church. It’s strange to think of my parents going anywhere else. But retiring is different for a pastor than for other vocations. If someone retires from an office job, say, there’s no need to switch churches as well. However, when a pastor retires, in most cases he leaves his church as well. This is difficult, because often that’s their support network and social circle. These are the people who have celebrated together in good times and pulled together in difficult times; people who worship together every week. Indeed, they are a church family. And it’s hard to say goodbye to such a family. Continue reading “One Big Happy Family”

When You Feel Like a Horrible Parent

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For anyone who has ever felt like the worst parent ever, this article originally written for and published on the Raising Godly Children website is for you!

A Screwtape Curriculum

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My Dear Headmaster,

I am flattered and humbled to find that my proposed curriculum has attracted much attention, even so much as to pique the interest of Screwtape himself. I am proud to say that these methods have yielded excellent results in America, and I believe they would prove useful in training up our youth at Underworld University. Allow me to highlight the core classes and summarize each of them briefly for your consideration. I have thousands of success stories to back the effectiveness of these techniques, and I would be happy to appear before the committee to present the ideas personally. Paired with other standard core classes such as Complacency and Entitlement, I assure you, these make a deadly combination that many in the Enemy’s clutches cannot resist. So without further ado, here are my recommendations.

Continue reading “A Screwtape Curriculum”

Family Ties

Can you imagine the anguish of Jesus’ mother as she watched her son dying on the cross?  As a mother myself, I can’t even bear it when one of my children gets hurt.  The sight of their blood makes me queasy.  Imagine, then, Mary standing there watching her innocent son beaten, mocked, and crucified for the sins of the whole world.  She watched him suffer there for three long hours, blood streaming from his head, his hands, his feet, and she couldn’t do a thing to stop it or make it better.  I can’t even imagine. Yet even in the midst of Jesus’ own excruciating agony, He sees His mother’s pain and takes the time to lovingly provide for her earthly future.

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The Secret to Church Growth

I have an unusual family.  Allow me to explain before any family members reading this get offended.  We are unusual because we’re so, well… normal.  Take my dad’s side of the family.  He is one of six children. That generation married and had kids, so my cousins and siblings and I total 18.  Now our generation is getting married and having kids, and so far there are 30 and counting in the next generation.  Here’s the thing- of all of us, there are no black sheep, no rebels, no skeletons in the closet, and all of us get along- no family feuds or rifts or anything.  And we are all actively living out our Christian faith.  Continue reading “The Secret to Church Growth”

The Cat’s in the Cradle

Who can forget the haunting words of Harry Chapin’s 1974 hit song “Cat’s in the Cradle?”  As a child I could sing along with the memorable refrain:

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Even as a child something about this song got to me. I couldn’t put a finger on it but it made me sad somehow.  Perhaps it was the tune, maybe it was Chapin’s voice, possibly even the words themselves, or maybe a combo of all three.  Growing up, I “knew” (though didn’t completely understand) that it was about a dad who never really made time for his son, then watched in sadness as his son grew up and had no time for him either.  He finally came to the tragic conclusion, “He’d grown up just like me.  My boy was just like me.”  (Even as I type this I’m fighting back tears.)
Continue reading “The Cat’s in the Cradle”

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