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Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
2 years, 3 months.
This past Saturday morning, we hung out with some of your friends from school, at Home Depot. While the project was assembling a wooden race car, you were actually much more excited by the free, endless supply of balloons.
Despite the ongoing “balloon fights” (like a pillow fight) between you (the only boy) and the three girls, there was no crying. Just good clean fun; hitting each other in the face with balloons.
I really enjoyed the show!
Mommy and I let you bring three of the balloons home. Mind you, these are just plain balloons that I blew up myself- no helium.
Later that day, after you woke up from your nap, we bought groceries at Kroger, where Mommy and I have let you get into this (bad?) habit of choosing a new Hot Wheels car each week (hey, it’s just 98 cents).
However, when I let you check out the cars selection, a blue cheetah doll caught your attention instead. Fortunately, it just so happened that this particular blue cheetah was in the wrong section and the tags had been removed.
I took you to the general manager to find out how much it cost, and for you, he agreed to $ 2.99. You must have charmed him, because had it had the price tag on it, it would have cost $14.99.
You still had enough Christmas money to afford it, so you bought it; and boy have you been proud of “Cheety” since then.
So Saturday night, as we were getting ready for dinner, I walked by the coffee table and caught you “writing” (scribbling) on a notepad with a yellow highlighter.
You were quietly “reading” out loud what you were writing:
“Thank you for my balloons and blue cheetah…”.
Once you realized I had heard you, you stopped. I was way too curious not to ask you what was going on.
“Jack, who are you writing that letter to?”
I almost already knew what you were going to say- and I was right:
I can’t argue with your logic. If it weren’t for God, we wouldn’t have balloons or blue cheetahs.
Sweet boy you are.
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Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
3 years, 2 months.
One of your new phrases that you’ve recently picked up is “oh my gosh.”
To some, that may not seem like a big deal. But for our family, it’s not something we take lightly.
“Oh my gosh” is lesser form of “oh my God,” which in my book, is a way of breaking one of the Ten Commandments: It’s referencing the Lord’s name in a trivial way; not in a reverent way.
I feel it’s my job to help you understand the difference in when it is and is not appropriate to use God’s name.
Here lately, you’re really getting curious about being more involved when our family prays together at dinner time.
Last night after I prayed while the three of us held hands before dinner, we all said “amen.” But you kept holding our hands, like you wanted to pray too.
So with Mommy’s encouragement, you paused, then simply said, “amen.” Hey, it’s a start- and I think that’s pretty cool of you to want to participate like that.
Whereas praying to God is the right way to use His name, randomly saying “oh my gosh” is a way to sort of indirectly tear down the holiness of God’s name.
It’s funny, because if you were 10 years-old and saying “oh my God,” I would be relieved for you to start saying “oh my gosh” instead.
But since you’re only 3, “what in the world?” is the phrase we are teaching you to say as a substitute for any form of “OMG.”
However, “oh my gosh” is everywhere.
It’s in kids’ movies and TV shows. You have friends who say it at school. I never thought much of it until it became a phrase I didn’t want you to say.
To be clear, I don’t find “OMG” to be offensive when others say it, because I don’t see how that personally concerns me. I see it as an issue between an individual person and God in regards to how they use His name.
But for us, as a family, it’s a decision we have made, based on the teachings of our faith.
So while it might sound trivial, I’m going to steer you away from “OMG” and redirect you to “what in the world?”
Even if it’s normal and everyone else does it. Even Mater and Lightning McQueen.
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Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
On the 2nd half of your monster truck road trip in the Toyota Tundra to celebrate your 3rd birthday, we stopped by an old abandoned amusement park, called Canyon Land Park, right outside my hometime in Fort Payne, AL. Here’s an old vintage postcard of the place in its prime:
In the likeness of the Dharma Initiative on Lost, this random amusement park thrived from around 1973 to circa 1983; until the place shut down. It even had a skylift that went over the canyon as well as a mini zoo featuring exotic animals!
Canyon Land Park has remained virtually untouched for 30 years.
The only exception I know of was exactly 20 years ago in October 1993, when my church’s youth group rented out the old (creepy) facility for a Halloween, for something called Hell House. (A Christian version of a spook house.)
One of the reasons I wanted to stop by the place is because exactly 40 years ago, Nonna and Papa (my parents) went on one of their first dates there.
It made sense to include what’s left of Canyon Land Park as part of this monster truck road trip, as it obviously had something to do with you and me even being here in the first place.
Turns out, there wasn’t a whole lot to see, as we parked the truck outside the rusted barb wire fence. I was able to make out what used to be a putt-putt golf course, but that was about it.
For all I know, there are black bears and wild hogs living in those old brick buildings that at one time brought in thousands of tourists. Maybe one day someone will purchase the land and make it the seemingly awesome and unique amusement park it once was.
I wish there would have been more to show you there, but at least the event served its purpose: to go off the beaten path in a “monster truck” and make an adventure of some things in life that most people don’t get to see every day.
We still had one more final stop on our monster truck road trip, though.
To be continued…
Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Toyota, for the purpose of reviewing.
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Saturday, December 15th, 2012
I recently realized something: I haven’t really been praying specifically for you. Instead, I’ve been mainly just lumping you in with our family.
Subconsciously, I keep asking myself, “What else should I pray about aside, from his safety and that he will have a bright future? He’s only 2 years old.”
That’s pretty much all my prayers for you have been about: Your safety and your future.
But beyond that, on a daily basis, what else do I want for you? What should I ask God for on your behalf?
I’ve been thinking about this all week and I guess the thing is, until I take the time to write it down, I won’t know the answer.
It’s like I get so used to the habit of praying ad-lib style, that I hardly take the time to map out my thoughts and translate them into prayers.
So while this prayer will surely evolve as you grow older, here’s my prayer for you for right now:
“Heavenly Father, thank you for my son Jack. Please protect him from harm and give him a bright future.
As for his interactions with others today, I pray that in his young age as he is developing his skills to communicate and share, help him to love others as himself.
Let him be a friend today to those who need a friend. Let him be encouraging, strong, and yet still humbled.
Bless him as he learns today about colors and shapes, words and numbers, and all Your creation in between. I pray He will see Your truth in this life and that he will see Your love through me.
Lead me today, as I lead him. I pray in Your name, amen.”
The obvious thing I can’t help but think about as I see this prayer, is the last line. Jack, it’s true you are both a gift and a responsibility.
Sure, the older you get, the more responsible for yourself you will become. But as for now, I am overly mindful of the role I play in your life.
I don’t take my role as your dad lightly. Therefore, I’m very deliberate in how I raise you. That includes how I discipline you, communicate with you, entertain you, engage you, and teach you both small and important lessons in life.
The light doesn’t just one day switch on, and suddenly, what I do as your dad suddenly starts really mattering.
I’ll do my best for you, Son. So help me God.
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Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
“I want John! I want Paul!” my son Jack whines.
You’d think he was just a big Beatles fan like his dad, until he continues:
“Martha- where’s Martha? Jesus! There’s Jesus. Jesus sleepy.”
For the past 23 months, Jack has been exposed to a children’s story Bible for bedtime. But now that he can piece sentences together and recall names of different characters, his children’s story Bible has never been more relevant.
His Bible is officially his favorite book. Why wouldn’t it be?
Plenty of camels, horses, sheep, and bearded men in robes to keep the attention of a 23-month-old little boy.
I think it’s hilarious/awesome that Jack has memorized the cartoon representations of at least a dozen men of the Bible. The only real distinction between them is the color of their beards and robes.
Tonight during story time as he sat in my lap and read to me, he made it his mission to find Mark. The problem is, even I couldn’t find Mark.
So I turned to a page where Jesus was feeding the multitudes from a little boy’s bread and fish. I figured with all the bearded men surrounding Jesus on that page, Jack would think he saw Mark somewhere in the crowd.
Not so much.
As I put Jack to bed tonight, it was kind a struggle for me to get him in sleep mode.
“I want Jesus! Jesus!” he cried, literally.
What he wanted was for me to let him take his children’s story Bible to bed with him, like he would his Elmo doll.
I just didn’t see that being a very comfortable situation in the middle of the night.
So Jack did settle for Percy the Train instead.
What’s interesting is that today during my lunch break, I mountain biked across town to the LifeWay store. I was just curious…
Do they sell a Jesus action figure, or even a plush doll?
But I sort of have a feeling by the time this story really ends, I’ll find one for him.
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