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Dancing Through the Snow…with a Beaver and a Prayer

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Snapshots of what happens when daddy is left unsupervised with three kids for 4 hours:

1. NE sings songs like his daddy. Just because we forget the words, that’s no reason to stop singing. In complete rhythm and tune, without missing a beat: “Dancing through the snow…and I wonder what comes next.”

2. Passing the urgent care I took SI to two weeks ago,

SI: “I went to that doctor before, and he said I have a beaver.”
Me: “A beaver!? You have a beaver? Awesome dude!”
NE: “No dad, not a beaver that eats wood, a beaver that you put the tempature stick in your mouth, and the beaver makes your head hurt.”
Me: “Oh. A beaver would be cool though, right?”
Silence. I think I stunned him.

3. I’m proud that NE has my debating skills…even when he uses them on me. Now we need to work on stopping while he’s ahead. In pleading his case for keeping his glass, chocolate milk bottle, I conceded and agreed to not trash it after he successfully pointed out that he rinsed it out with water and it’s not yucky anymore. Then as he takes the bottle from me and is walking away, he continues to argue his point…which occurs more often than not, and always ends with me saying “you successfully won the point son. Stop talking now or I’ll change my mind for no other reason than because I’m the dad…and I can.”

4. Dinner table conversation:
NE: “Mom says ____ is a bad word, and we shouldn’t say it.”
Dad: “I agree. I don’t like that word either.”
SI: “When we say ____, will momma spank our butts?”
NE: “No, momma won’t spank us if we say ____.”
SI: “Mommy and daddy will not spank our butts if we say ____?”
NE: “Nope.”
Dad: “If you don’t stop saying it right now, I’m gonna spank you right here in front of everyone.”
SI: “If I say ____, you’re gonna spank my butt?”
Dad: “Yes.”
SI: (with look of shock on his face) “Oh. Then I will not say ____ because I don’t want you to spank my butt if I say ____.”
Dad: “Thank you.”
SI: (after long pause) Why can I not say ____? Is ____ a bad word?”
Dad: “Yes, it’s a bad word, and I don’t like it.
SI: “Okay. I will not say ____, because I no want you spank my butt.”
Dad: “That’s great. Thank you.”
SI: “You’re welcome. Cuz I don’t want you to spank my butt if I say ____.”
Dad: “I don’t think you’re getting it son.”
SI: “I will get it when I say ____, and you spank my butt.”
Me: (fighting back a smile) “Yes son. Yes you will. While we’re here, I don’t like butt either. Can we say bottom instead please?”
Repeat conversation. Ugh.

At least there’s hope in the final moments of the night. For the first time in a long time, the boys played together for 20 minutes without the poking of any eyeballs, smacking of any bottoms, pushing each other down the stairs or belly bombs off the couch to break the other’s arms. I only had to raise my voice during bedtime routine once (yes…that’s an improvement…sad, I know). And rather than fighting for a spot beside me at prayer time, NE wanted to sit by his little brother and hugged him throughout the prayer…that he prayed. It’s been awhile since NE has wanted to pray, and he willingly offered twice tonight. I wish I could take credit, but I’m not into pushing my luck. At this rate, we’re overdue for an AFLAC claim. I should have invested in AFLAC’s heart attack policy. Odds are in our favor there. Night night.

Love,

Dad

What If Our Daily Bread Isn’t Steak & Eggs?

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I know this is hard to imagine, but as a child, I wasn’t always the best choice maker. I was known to be stubborn and hard-headed, and could give my parents a run for their money. When I wanted something, I wanted it right now…and no one (not even my parents) were gonna tell me no. With dad often working, 40+ hours a week plus commute time, mom was home with us more than he was, and thus was often the one who bore the brunt of my attitude problems. I can recall hearing mom say something like “we’ll deal with this when your dad gets home.” Oh, the fear those 5 little words would instill. “When your dad gets home…”

Of all the times I remember hearing those words, I don’t ever recall feeling good about what was to come…no excitement. No joy. No peace. Nope…those words meant trouble was on the horizon. I had done something that was soon to be bringing the wrath of God down upon me. (okay, maybe not God, but I was a kid…might as well have been God when the man you admire and respect was coming home to rain down punishment on me).

I would usually wait with dread and despair for what was coming. Hide in my room and hope she’d forget to tell him. Hope he would be too tired to deal with it. Pray for divine intervention. Never did I pray for the discipline that was to come. I was desperately praying for a reprieve from the belt…never once did I pray to actually receive the belt. What child in his right mind would pray to be disciplined?!

Father give us this day, our daily bread…” When we hear that, we usually equate “daily bread” with good things…things like our food and nourishment. When asked how we should pray, Christ’s response was to first show us our need for total reliance on the Father for our daily sustenance…for all we need. When God rained down manna from the heavens for His people, He supplied their need…gave them exactly what they needed for that day…no more…no less. I don’t know how it tasted, but I can imagine after eating the same thing over and over for awhile, what they wanted was a nice juicy steak, cut thick and cooked just right, with some steamed vegetables and warm garlic bread on the side. But they didn’t get what they wanted…they got what they needed.

And that’s just one of the awesome things about God. He gives us what we need, right when we need it…in His timing, not ours. Whether we realize we need it or not. We’re His children. And like children often do, sometimes what we need is discipline. As painful as the discipline can be, as scary as it is to face, as much as we dread it…it’s necessary. We’re children. Children need discipline. Not necessarily punishment…discipline. Punishment is anger-based. Discipline is love-based. God doesn’t punish us…He disciplines us. Because He loves us. So when we ask God for our daily bread, are we truly prepared to accept it, even if it’s not steak and eggs? Are we willing to accept our daily bread, even when what we truly need today is to be disciplined?

Love,

Dad

Lord, may I be willing to accept your discipline, along with your provision. Thank you for loving me enough to recognize my need, even when I can’t. Thank you for loving me enough to discipline me so that I would come back into fellowship with you. Thank you for overlooking my grumblings when the daily bread you provide is the manna I need, not the steak and eggs I want.

Amen

Big Jesus and Little Jesus

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Had an AWESOME day in the Lord.  Got to watch 4 hours of great basketball while hanging out with NE.  Got to coach NE’s game.  Saw and heard about some amazing God moments.  Enjoyed a nice dinner with the fam while hearing all about SD’s afternoon with her new friend.  It’s past their bedtime, but I’m enjoying giggles from the boys’ room.  Not sure what they’re doing, but I haven’t heard NE giggle like this in a LONG time.  Bubba’s bedtime prayer:

“Dear Gaw, dank you for food.  Dank you for Cheerios.  Dank you for cankakes.  Dank you for movie.  Dank you for Pireman Sam.  Dank you for new sheets.  Dank you for mommy.  Dank you for big Jesus and little Jesus.  Amen!”   In defense of NE, the “big Jesus and little Jesus” originally came from him.  Doesn’t matter what prayer we’re saying, be it mealtime grace, bedtime prayers, or any prayer throughout the day, NE you won’t let us end without saying “thank you for big Jesus and little Jesus.”  Not sure where you got it, but it’s your thing.  If I forget to say it, you’ll say, “Dad! You didn’t say thank you for big Jesus and little Jesus.”  Sometimes, you just add on to my prayer as a P.S.  It has quickly become a staple in our daily prayers, and I love it…almost as much as God does.  Either way, I couldn’t say it any better.  Amen!!

Love,

Dad

Rain and Tacos

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Driving home through the rain last week, NE, you started singing a song from preschool, “God Made the Rain”. As awesome as that was, when I turned around to watch you while you sang, you stopped. So I asked “what else did God make?” You thought quietly for about ten seconds and then answered “tacos!” What an awesome God we serve…rain and tacos.

That was a little over a week ago. Tonight, I’m sitting at the edge of the driveway watching the three of you playing with your friends. At one point, you rode up on your bike singing the same song. No tacos this time…just rain, dirt and mud. What a blessing it is to watch you grow in the Lord. I know that at three years, you’re too young now to fully understand all that Christ did for you, but as you grow it is my fervent prayer that you do one day. It certainly won’t be for my lack of telling and showing you, because my mission in this life is to ensure that all of you join me in eternity with Jesus.

Love,

Dad