Posts Tagged ‘ church ’

What Parents Do When The Kids Are Asleep With The Grandparents

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

On Christmas Eve, shortly after “the nice man” drove to Nonna and Papa’s house to bring me the 2014 Lexus LS 460 to review, you and your cousin Calla both crashed for a much needed nap.

Under the care of your grandparents, that meant that Mommy and I, along with Auntie Dana (my sister) and Uncle Andrew, could do whatever in the world we wanted to on that cold yet sunny December afternoon.

Given that there was a brand new Lexus LS 460 sitting in the driveway, we hit the road!

At this point in the letter, I need you to start the soundtack, which is a song called “Flowers In Your Hair,” by The Lumineers:

It’s just that the pictures you’re about to see and the randomness of what you’re about to read is best complimented by such an appropriate song.

We decided to hit the mountaintop freeway, aimlessly headed towards Little River Canyon, where we took you in the 2014 Toyota Tundra we borrowed for your 3rd birthday.

I suggested we hang a left turn onto a barely visible side road next to an old fishing tackle shop.

Fate would have it, the four of us would happen upon a perfectly Americana-style, old abandoned church.

So we checked it out, as any young Generation Y parents would do.

The doors and windows were all gone. A “no trespassing” sign was nowhere to be found.

As we entered the church, it felt like a mix between Jacob’s cabin in the woods on Lost and being in a music video for The Lumineers.

All that we could find in the church was what was left of an antique piano and a once comfy chair.

I liked how the ceiling was painted a dull teal color, for no apparent reason.

How in the world has this place been left in tact all this time? No punk teenagers or meth heads have taken advantage of the situation.

Not even a killer brown bear.

Just an old abandoned church that surprisingly wasn’t creepy.

While I was exploring the place, I thought about all the people, who have all surely passed on from this life by now, but who knew that church as a major part of life.

They learned about God and the teachings of Jesus and the journey to Heaven. Those people made their way out in the ice and snow and sun to see their friends and fellow believers each Sunday morning. There is even a river behind the church where they surely baptized those who were lost but had been found.

That church was a big deal to them. I didn’t take it lightly to be standing on what, especially at one time, was holy ground.

So there you have it. That’s the kind of thing your parents do when you’re asleep and your grandparents are there to watch you.

Isn’t it weird to think that, in theory, I have a life separate from you? To think that I seek entertainment and nostalgia and new memories too…

You get that from me, you know.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Lexus, for the purpose of reviewing.

P.S. Here’s a collection of my Toyota family reviews so far; just click on title to read the full story:

2014 Lexus LS 460: 2014 Lexus LS 460 Review, From The Dad’s PerspectiveJourney To Howard’s Chapel (The Church Built Into A Rock)Ironically Driving A Lexus To See A Dinosaur Named Junkasaurus WrecksWhat Parents Do When The Kids Are Asleep With The GrandparentsGrandma Regifts As-Seen-On-TV “Perfect Polly” To Great-GrandsonI’ve Heard Of Sleepwalking, But… Sleep-Eating And Sleep-Playing?

2013 Avalon Hybrid: 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Review, From The Dad’s PerspectiveA Family That Recycles Together Doesn’t Decompose

2013 Toyota Rav4: 2013 Toyota Rav4 Review, From The Dad’s Perspective

2014 Toyota Tundra: Dad Gives 3 Year-Old Son A Monster Truck For Birthday… Sort OfNashville Dad Introduces 3 Year-Old Son To Country Music3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Build-A-Bear3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Little River Falls, AL3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Mountain Driving3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Land Park3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Mouth Park

2013 Toyota Sienna: We’re Ready For A Family Road Trip… Minivan Style!It’s Officially Cool To Drive A Minivan Now

 

 

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Journey To Howard’s Chapel (The Church Built Into A Rock)

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

As I just got finished explaining in my last letter to you, we took the Lexus LS 460 on a “guys only” mini-road trip early Christmas morning.

Our destinaton was Sallie Howard Memorial Chapel (A.K.A. “Howard’s Chapel”) in Mentone, AL; just a few miles from the house I grew up.

I specifically planned this trip because I felt at age 3, you are officially old enough to at least half-way remember going to such a cool and quirky place.

Finished in 1937, the chapel was built into a huge rock.

As if that weren’t interesting enough, the creative man responsible for having the church built, Milford Howard, had a last wish of having his ashes “buried” into the rock of the church.

My entire life, anytime I have wanted to, I have been able to visit the chapel; the doors are always open.

It’s really fascinating!

We got to explore the small church, seeing up close how the building was built into the rock and where Milford Howard’s ashes are buried.

I have a passion for (and a hobby of) finding obscure little treasures that seem like they should be part of a weird dream that you sort of almost remember from your childhood.

Except this is obviously real. So I took plenty of pictures of your first visit there to prove to you that it wasn’t just a dream.

As we were leaving, I asked you if you liked visiting the chapel. Your response:

“No, I don’t like it. There’s no people here.”

That makes sense. You’re used to seeing friends and playing with toys at our shopping mall-sized church we go to.

So to drop into a church where there are no people, because they weren’t currently having a service while we were there, I’m sure it didn’t actually seem to you like being at church.

Oh well, I enjoyed being there.

I think you might have been a bit preoccupied about the “giant robot” that was next-up on our journey.

To be continued….

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Lexus, for the purpose of reviewing.

P.S. Here’s a collection of my Toyota family reviews so far; just click on title to read the full story:

2014 Lexus LS 460: 2014 Lexus LS 460 Review, From The Dad’s PerspectiveJourney To Howard’s Chapel (The Church Built Into A Rock)Ironically Driving A Lexus To See A Dinosaur Named Junkasaurus WrecksWhat Parents Do When The Kids Are Asleep With The GrandparentsGrandma Regifts As-Seen-On-TV “Perfect Polly” To Great-GrandsonI’ve Heard Of Sleepwalking, But… Sleep-Eating And Sleep-Playing?

2013 Avalon Hybrid: 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Review, From The Dad’s PerspectiveA Family That Recycles Together Doesn’t Decompose

2013 Toyota Rav4: 2013 Toyota Rav4 Review, From The Dad’s Perspective

2014 Toyota Tundra: Dad Gives 3 Year-Old Son A Monster Truck For Birthday… Sort OfNashville Dad Introduces 3 Year-Old Son To Country Music3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Build-A-Bear3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Little River Falls, AL3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Mountain Driving3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Land Park3rd Birthday Monster Truck Road Trip: Canyon Mouth Park

2013 Toyota Sienna: We’re Ready For A Family Road Trip… Minivan Style!It’s Officially Cool To Drive A Minivan Now

 

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It’s Okay To Mix The Play-Doh Colors Together

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

When I was a kid, I refused to mix the Play-Doh colors together or destroy any of my creations. I liked to create, and then eternally save, the same-colored animals and random creatures that I made.

I think I evidently believed that by destroying any of them, I was killing them. Apparently, I believed they had souls, too.

(This is starting to remind me of the plot line of the Disney movie, Spooky Buddies, that we just watched yesterday on Netflix.)

However, as for you, you’re totally cool with completely annihilating any “living” thing you make.

And honestly, I think that’s a good thing.

Because it also indirectly leads you to be able to mix the different colors of Play-Doh together and not feel guilty about that either.

You don’t respect the colors or creations of the Play-Doh… after all, it’s just a toy. It’s all just part of the same wad, as far as you’re concerned.

This morning as we were about to get ready for church, you made me some Play-Doh coffee.

I was quite impressed, actually.

Now that your newest Play-Doh set has been homogonizing for a few weeks now, it’s morphing into this reddish brown, greenish black color, with hints of caramel showing through.

You served it up real nice for me.

Then, after Mommy got you dressed for church, you and I went on our 1st ever father and son fishing trip; from a vegetarian’s perspective, at least…

You discovered that your Halloween glow stick stopped glowing, so no problem- it became your fishing pole.

And yes, the bait, as well as the fish you would catch, were both made out of that same reddish brown, greenish black Play-Doh, with hints of caramel showing through.

It’s funny how most of the time, in order to play with you, all I have to do is just sit there and look at you.

From there, you always figure out what to pretend to do. You simply entertain yourself, especially if you have some decent props.

Then, as I serve as the sole member in your audience, I also become the mandatory volunteer to help you act out your show.

I’ve got a front row seat!

Who cares that our family hasn’t eaten meat in 23 months? We went fishing anyway.

And we didn’t even have to miss church for it.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

 

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The Peculiar And Impractical Tradition Of Tithing 10%

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

A week ago when I published “5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money In 2013,” I intentionally left off one crucial way that I believe our family saves money. Maybe it’s not so much about it saving us money, as much as it helps us manage our budget with even more discipline and focus.

In fact, out of the 5 impractical ways I listed, I see this “6th way” as not only undeniably impractical, but the most important, for our family, at least:

We tithe.

For us, that means we give 10% of our paychecks to our church. From there, a lot of that money goes to helping people not only in our area, but all over the world.

Of course, that 10% of our income isn’t the only money we give to help others, because we help financially support other non-profit organizations that help people too.

But right off the top of every paycheck, we know that 10% of it goes to our church, which in turn helps other people.

I should be clear about something: It’s not that we have a 10% excess in our income. Not at all. Instead, we build our budget around the 10% we tithe.

(That might help explain why we can’t afford cable or satellite TV, or Internet on our phones, or eating out, or updating our electronics… which I pointed out in 5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money In 2013.)

Financial guru Dave Ramsey, who includes tithing as part of his teaching, puts it this way:

“If you cannot live off 90% of your income, then you cannot live off 100%.”

If this can make any sense, we can’t afford not to tithe.

We believe that God will bless our family’s efforts as we acknowledge that what we have is not ours to begin with; instead, everything we have is what God has given to us.

So to “give back” 10%, technically isn’t giving back.

But I believe a lot of the importance of tithing has to do with the mindset it puts a family in. In the likeness of feng shui, tithing constantly keeps us mindful of where each dollar we earn goes.

Just like the importance of having a solid weekly budget on Excel, tithing helps us tell our money where to go, before it can tell us where to go.

Therefore, I think tithing is even a good idea for families who don’t go to church, as well as, those who aren’t particularly religious at all.

I would venture to say that a family who always gives at least 10% of their income to, at least, a charity that helps the needy, even if it’s not through a religious organization, is still going to find that they manage their money better than before they started promising to give away 10% of their income.

Sure, giving away 10% of every paycheck is pretty extreme and not necessarily normal.

But I suppose for a family who doesn’t pay for cable or satellite TV, or Internet on our phones, or for the fact we don’t really dine out, or update our electronics, I guess it’s not really that much of a shock that we automatically give away 10% of our income.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Photo: Giving Offering Sharing Blessing Background, Shutterstock.

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The Difference Between Punishing And Disciplining My Child

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

20 months.

What if we aimed for the same outcome for adults who do us wrong as we do our own kids when we discipline them?

I mean, instead of instantly wishing that a person suffers, what if we honestly hoped to see them restored to decency?

What if instead of wishing for annihilation for our enemies and frenemies, we wished for restoration and positive progress?

If I take away my son’s security blanket/girlfriend or put my son in time-out for no reason, then I am punishing him.

But if I do either of those things after I already warned him against something and he refused to cooperate, then I am simply following through with disciplining him.

To me, that is the difference.

It’s punishment if there is no cause. It’s discipline if it serves a purpose to make my child a better human being.

I’ve said it before: Disciplining a child is a weird thing.

Everyone has their own approach to it that they feel most comfortable with and find to be the most effective. But I’m for certain that no parent disciplines their child in secret hopes of making them suffer indefinitely for their offenses.

Instead, we want our children to mature and become less selfish. We want the best for them. By doing so, we make the world a better place.

So here’s something I think is messed up about us as adults: It’s way too easy for us to want to see other people cursed and suffer when they offend us, rather than them being blessed and enriched.

If someone cuts us off in traffic, they are automatically a jerk who deserves to be flipped off.

No matter how good of a person they may be outside of that single moment. Forget about how hard they work for their family and how they help others out of the goodness of their hearts.

For cutting us off, they become labeled as idiots who have no hope of redemption.

In fact, in that heat of the moment, the thought of that person being redeemed is absurd. It’s natural and easy to generalize them into an evil and moronic imbecile who intends to make your life hell; or at least annoying.

Simply said, we want that person to suffer. Who cares about forgiveness, redemption, or reconciliation.

And then, for all we know, the next day we coincidentally see them at the gas station and they say to us, “Excuse me, but you dropped this.”

They hand to you your debit card which slipped out of your wallet. You thank them; neither of you even aware of the incident the day before.

We discipline our children to help them, not privately wish bad things upon them. Yet we so easily want to judge and punish those who slightly offend us or have the opposite view as we do on a political or parenting issue that doesn’t even personally concern us.

By the way, if you live in Nashville, I’ve probably cut you off before on the road. But only because you seemed to be going slower than you actually were, but I realized it only after I had already pulled out in front of you.

Oops. My bad.

Here’s a quote from my favorite song right now, performed by 10th Avenue North:

“Why do we think that hate’s gonna change their heart?
We’re up in arms over wars that don’t need to be fought
But pride won’t let us lay our weapons on the ground
We build our bridges up but just to burn them down
We think pain is owed apologies and then it’ll stop
But truth be told it doesn’t matter if they’re sorry or not”

 

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