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One families attempt to keep up with themselves

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Josiah – Everett Highlights

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The Battlefield

“The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.”

 

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Tebow!

A one-time critic of Tim Tebow writes, “I’ve come to believe in Tim Tebow, but not for what he does on a football field, which is still three parts Dr. Jekyll and two parts Mr. Hyde.

No, I’ve come to believe in Tim Tebow for what he does off a football field, which is represent the best parts of us, the parts I want to be and so rarely am.

Who among us is this selfless”?

Every week, Tebow picks out someone who is suffering, or who is dying, or who is injured. He flies these people and their families to the Broncos game, rents them a car, puts them up in a nice hotel, buys them dinner (usually at a Dave & Buster’s), gets them and their families pregame passes, visits with them just before kickoff (!), gets them 30-yard-line tickets down low, visits with them after the game (sometimes for an hour), has them walk him to his car, and sends them off with a basket of gifts.

Home or road, win or lose, hero or goat.

HomeWord – How to Have a “Happy” Thanksgiving

A great article from my mentor Jim Burns.

Stuffing happens. Pardon the T-Day pun, but the sentiment rings true. In life, things often get in the way keeping us from experiencing the type of day that we would like. And in the end, Thanksgiving Day is just another day of life.

Because Thanksgiving is a treasured holiday in the lives of most Americans in all stages of life, and because of a human tendency to romanticize Thanksgiving Days gone by, if we’re not careful, we can set the bar of expectations so high for the day and for our families that we’re bound to experience a let down when the reality doesn’t match up to the expectation.
Over the years, I’ve learned some tips that can increase the likelihood of having a truly “Happy Thanksgiving.”
1. Give thanks. With all of the preparations involved in Thanksgiving Day (meals, family, travel, and so on) it’s pretty easy to forget that the holiday was created as a day Americans give thanks to God for their blessings. As Christ-followers, we know that even in the midst of difficult seasons of life, that God is good and that there is always something to thank Him for. So, take at least a few moments and offer up a prayer of thanks to God.
Many families find it meaningful to offer up a prayer of thanksgiving before the big meal. Others go around the table and have people share at least one thing each person is thankful for over the past year. There are many ways that families can bring the “thanksgiving” aspect into their Thanksgiving Day celebrations. So, be creative, but try not to get too complicated, or overbearing.
2. Evaluate your expectations. What are you planning? Why are you planning it? Is it reasonable to expect that you can accomplish what you are planning? There’s nothing wrong with having expectations. Knowing what they are in advance can help you adjust them to be more in line with reality and can help give you more control over your behaviors on Thanksgiving Day.
3. Don’t expect perfection. Remember, as I mentioned before, stuffing happens. There is no such thing as the perfect Thanksgiving Day. Fortunately, perfection isn’t required to experience a truly “happy” Thanksgiving. When something goes awry, your own attitude, and how your respond to the situation will go a long way to determining your “happy” quotient.
4. Involve your family in whatever tasks need to be done. Mom, it might seem like it sometimes, but you really don’t have to do everything yourself. Okay, you’ll probably not ask your 13-year-old son to be in charge of the turkey. But, he can take out the trash, run the vacuum cleaner, or set the dinner table. (Or, if there is any other chore that might include the potential for explosions, he’ll be eager to help. Just kidding. Sort of.)
5. Give yourself some margin to do something that you truly enjoy on Thanksgiving Day. At our home, my wife Jenny loves to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television during the morning. (I’m not a fan.) But, she really enjoys it – and it’s her Thanksgiving Day too, so she gets control of the remote, while I find other things to do.
6. During the Thanksgiving season, find a way to get your family involved in giving. Whether it’s the gift of a pumpkin pie to a shut-in, inviting another family to your Thanksgiving Dinner, raking leaves for the elderly couple down the street, or making a contribution to a local shelter, do something for someone else – something that your family feels good about. The simple act of giving is likely to increase the joy of your own Thanksgiving celebration.
7. Remember, kids will be kids. Let them be kids. Within reason. I remember our extended family gatherings for Thanksgiving Day when I was a kid. It was exciting to get together with all of my cousins. Invariably, we ended up getting ourselves into trouble. I remember my mother taking me aside and asking, “Do you want to go home right now?” Horror of horrors. I wanted to stay and join in on the fun! I can still hear that threat in my head 40 years later.
So, whether you have an extended family gathering planned for Thanksgiving, or just your immediate family, remember that kids are still kids, even on a holiday. If your kids argue the rest of the year, they’ll probably argue on Thanksgiving Day. If your son is prone to meltdowns towards the end of the day because he gets tired, you can expect the same on the holiday.
There’s nothing wrong with talking to your kids about your behavioral expectations for them on Thanksgiving Day beforehand. In fact, it’s a good idea, especially if you are going to be with extended family and if there will be lots of youngsters around. But, be realistic and reasonable. If something does happen where your son or daughter misbehaves, resist the urge to publically reprimand (and possibly humiliate) your child (or yourself). Step away from the crowd with your child and handle any discipline as quietly and privately as possible.
The same concept applies to teens. Many teens just want to get out of the house as quickly as possible to meet and hang out with friends. For some teens, spending a full day with family can seem like a prison sentence. So to avoid the potential “Dad, you are ruining my life” scene around the Thanksgiving dinner table, be proactive and talk about T-Day expectations with your teen ahead of time. It will be much better for both your teen and for you, for example, if you to determine before Thanksgiving Day, that your daughter may (or may not) go out with friends after dinner.
8. Like water off a duck’s back. Okay, it’s almost inevitable, isn’t it? Almost every family has at least one member who loves to stir the pot and push buttons. Your sister-in-law will make that sniping comment about the turkey being too dry, or you mother will criticize your watery gravy, or cousin Gary will (again!) bring up that Thanksgiving nightmare from 10 years ago when your family skeleton jumped out of the closet for all to see. So, just expect that some snarky comment will fly around on Thanksgiving Day. Get ready for it. Then, when it happens, do your best to ignore it, or make light of it. Just shake it off and let it go. These comments are almost always an exercise in fishing. Remember, the fish who gets hooked, is the fish that takes the bait. Don’t’ take the bait.
9. Plan an optional, after-dinner activity. I say optional, because, some (like me) just want to curl up in a recliner, in front of the television (football!) and snooze after the big meal. But, if you are hosting T-Day for a larger group, some may appreciate something to do after dinner. Some may enjoy a group walk around the neighborhood, throwing a football around on the lawn, or some type of board or card game after dinner. The secret to success here is to avoid making a big deal of the optional activities. Don’t offer anything that is too complicated. Oh, and by the way, don’t offer anything where you have to be the person in charge!
Thanksgiving Dinner tips:
Plan ahead if you are preparing the Thanksgiving meal this year. Preparing a big Thanksgiving meal, even if it’s just for your immediate family, is a lot of work! Planning ahead helps to minimize stress on Thanksgiving Day. Less stress = more happy.
            – How many people will you be preparing to serve?
            – What will be on the menu?
            – Simpler can be better. Keep the menu as simple as possible. Don’t overreach on planning too many side dishes or desserts.
            – Who will help to prepare the menu items? When will you need them to help?
            – What menu items will you ask others to bring, pre-prepared to your home? This is a great way to reduce stress (and expenses) particularly if you are hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner for a large number of people.
            – Make out your grocery list, and then do your shopping as far in advance as possible.
            – Do you need to buy any utensils or equipment to prepare your menu items?
            – Plan which menu items you can prepare in advance (the day before, two days before, etc.) Set a schedule for when you’ll prepare your menu items. Stick with the plan.
            – Plan for the use of your stovetop, oven, and microwave on Thanksgiving Day. Stagger preparing menu items throughout day so that you don’t end up with a stressful traffic jam on the stovetop right before dinner.
            – Are you trying a new menu item on Thanksgiving Day? Try making it a week or two in advance so you can determine if you really want to serve it on Thanksgiving Day. This practice run will also give you a better idea of how much time and effort will be needed to make the dish on T-Day.
            – Cheat. There are a number of good pre-prepared options that can be purchased at local stores that can make your Thanksgiving preparations less stressful. In our area, for example, Costco makes great (and cheap) pies. Local bakeries are great for picking up quality breads, rolls and desserts. Bring some home, and add your own finishing touches, if you’d like, for that “homemade” appeal.
            – Make a dinner checklist – and then check it off as you go along. Make a list including all your menu items, your serving dishes, utensils, condiments, salt and pepper, etc. Then, as you get ready to serve dinner, you’ll be able to tell what you’ve forgotten to set out. (And, if you are like me, you will forget something… hence the checklist.)
            – Plan ahead for clean up. Oh, that the Thanksgiving Day work would be over once dinner is finished! Cleaning up after dinner can be the most tiresome and the most tedious of chores. So, ask family members in advance to help with the post-dinner clean up. Give specific assignments. As they say, many hands make light work.
May you truly have a happy Thanksgiving!
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
…always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:21
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

HomeWord – How to Have a “Happy” Thanksgiving.

The Best Players in Baseball

Who are the best players in baseball? Players who never fail? Players who don’t attack other players? Players without obsessive pride? Here are a few: Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Mariano Rivera, Christian Guzman, Matt Holiday, Jamie Moyer, Ryan Church, Lance Berkman.

They are so dominate. They believe in God.

Rivera is a devout Christian. During his childhood, neither he nor his family attended church, but after a born again experience in his early 20s, Rivera—and subsequently his parents—became religious. He maintains that God has a reason for everything that happens. Rivera has publicly said that he is going to be a Christian pastor when he retires from baseball. He is often reading the Bible in the Yankees clubhouse. He has payed for a church to be built in his home Town of Panama City. He is still caring about them after he is the best reliever in the game. He is truly invincible.

Albert Pujols has contributed to more donations than he has longballs. In 2006 his team one the World Series. He is an amazing christian, he always puts his family first. He has showed christian leadership and through him he has changed so many peoples lives.

Lance Berkman is the first baseman of the Houston Astros. He was raised in a christian home. A little after, he was swearing like a sailor, spending every night in a bar. When he reached his sophomore year in college he found guys at his school that were at the same level he was at, they started encouraging one another to get deeper with God.


Jamie Moyer is playing in Philliedelphia and has a foundation called the Moyer foundation. It helps children in severe distress, children without the money to pay for the healthcare. He has created camps that help children get comfort after the death of loved ones.Matt Holiday is an amazing Christian leader on his team, even in the hard times. Last season in the clubhouse you wouldn’t find any penthouses, playboys, or a maxim. They would read the Bible, car magazines, sports illustrated and the newspaper. Other team mates that took part in their weekly Bible study were  Todd Helton who is one of the most respected players of the game, Jamey Carrol, and Choo Freeman. They made it to the world series last year as a christian baseball team.Christian Guzman and Ryan Church have been holding their team to Christian morals. Once there was a player(name unknown) on the nationals that wanted to do batting practice instead of going to there weekly seminars but Ryan Church was firm and said no, your coming.

Josh Hamilton was into drugs; then he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior and has fought his way back up to an all-star, and back up as a MVP candidate. He encourages you to do the same. Read John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believed in him would have everlasting life.”


To God Give the Glory!

4 Things That Mattered To Our Parents

They may not matter today….
Innovation has always and is currently moving at a breakneck speed. There is of course, those things that continue to be true and great that remain and weather the gail force winds of change. There is a reason these things remain. And there is a reason that many former “innovations” fall by the wayside. They need to. It’s time. They are not bad, they just aren’t as good anymore.

And yet there are those who are not willing to let go of the past. They are deeply rooted in the meaning that these things once held. They are stuck in the systems that these former “innovations” have created, unable to embrace what is now. Here are FOUR examples (of many) from our Culutre and ONE Question that each of us must wrestle with.

The Encyclopedia.
A brilliant breakthrough of the Modern Era. Knowledge for the masses! Everyone can own…26 Giant Books with Tiny Print. We had a set in our house growing up – grossly outdated and too expensive and complicated to update, they became fantastic door stoppers and forts for my G.I. Joes.

The Phonebook.
Eclipsing the wisdom of a centralized Operator, now anyone could find a litany of phone numbers for 24 hour plumbers. They represent a centralized collection of localized limitedness that had to be updated every year with a new 18 pound 1384 page waste of paper. Not sustainable.

The Home Phone.
The Cordless Phone simply was not enough to save the icon of a bygone era of simplicity and boundaries. ”Call me sometime…when I’m home…not on another call…and am willing to stand still long enough for our conversation.”

The Newspaper.
An inky papery connection to the world around you…that the editors saw fit to represent. The world continues to move too fast, too far, and too wide for this iconic connection to the Greatest Generation. While the Newspaper may not die, it most certainly will not thrive in it’s current atomic state.

Right or Wrong. Good or Bad. These are FOUR things that matter(ed) to our parents. But they simply DON’T to us anymore. They have been replaced by innovation that itself will be replaced in a matter of time.

The Question is – WHAT IS YOUR CHURCH STILL DOING THAT MATTERED TO OUR PARENTS, BUT SIMPLY DOES NOT MATTER TO THE WORLD WE CURRENTLY LIVE IN?

What are we still holding on to because of it’s unorthodox and uncritical “history” and meaning to us? What is it that we are still doing because we are too entrenched in the systems we’ve created around it? AND…WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

Happy Birthday, Brooks Robinson.

Happy Birthday, Brooks Robinson – The Best To Ever Play The Hot Corner.

It was a warm sunny day in Anaheim, CA when my parents brought me to watch the Angels play my baseball hero, Brooks Robinson for my 12-year-old birthday. I was a Little League Oriole and I played third base. And yes, my number was 5! Nolan Ryan pitched and Brooks got a couple of hits. It was one of the greatest days of my life. Immediately after the game, my parents brought me around the field toward the 1st base side of the Stadium.  I didn’t understand what was happening, but they brought me to the where the visiting team exits the clubhouse to go to the bus where a large crowd had gathered. Somehow they arranged for Brooks to come out and take apitcher with me after the game. Just me. A large swing door opened, Brooks popped his head out, looked

and pointed at me to come over. I was frozen – then my parents pushed me through the crowd and stood in

front of Brooks with his hands firmly placed on my shoulders for a pose.  It was one of greatest moments of my childhood!

The next season, a friend of our family was a reporter for a local newspaper. He brought me to as many games as I could attend and I was not going to miss seeing the Orioles. I’ll never forget walking onto the field, then into the dugout and eventually through the tunnel and into the locker room where the Orioles were suiting up for the game. I saw Jim Palmer, Bobby Grich, Boog Powell (who could miss him), Mark Bellanger, and Don Baylor. I couldn’t believe where I was. Then through the crowd of players I saw Brooks standing up to tuck in his jersey. He looked at me and then looked harder. He pointed

at me and hesitantly said – “Marc”? He knew and remembered my name. I just stood there and stared in disbelief. I took out the picture that had been taken of us the previous season and asked if he would sign it. To this day, 37 years later, I have that picture next to my desk.

It’s a cherished memory that a Hall-of-Famer of that caliber and a gentleman of that stature would remember my name. I imagine it would be like that for anyone. But just think that as large of a figure as Brooks Robinson is, there is a Lord of the Universe, Jesus Christ

that also remembers our name. He looks at us, points towards us, and acknowledges that we are special in his eyes and HE is our Creator and Savior.

Brooks C. Robinson Jr. played 23 seasons (1955-1977) for the Baltimore Orioles during a Hall of Fame career defined by outstanding defense and clutch play. Nicknamed the “Human Vacuum Cleaner” for his knack for sucking up balls hit near his third base post, Robinson won 16 straight Gold Gloves and set major league records at his position for putouts, assists, chances, double plays and fielding percentage.

Many consider him the best defensive third baseman of all time. The Orioles third baseman finished his career with 2,848 hits, 268 home runs and 1,357 RBIs. He won the American League MVP Award in 1964, hitting .317 with 28 home runs and 118 RBIs. Robinson was also awarded the 1970 World Series MVP.

The Orioles won two World Series titles during Robinson’s career — in 1966 and 1970 and Robinson was voted World Series MVP in 1970. Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983, earning 91.98 percent of the vote. Robinson was born in Little Rock, Ark., on May 18, 1937.

Is Texting Good for Teenagers?

Rounding up the bits and pieces  regarding texting… Maybe there should be a book written about this? Hmn?

Nielsen reported in June that in the first quarter of ’09, teens on average send/receive 2,900 texts a month, up from 2,272 in the fourth quarter of ’08. That’s a 28% increase in texting in just 3 months.

I’ve seen articles that have warned that the advent of texting, with it’s abbreviations (OMG) and word substitutions (gr8), is the harbinger of the end of the English language as we’ve known it.

Now, some educators are saying that texting can be good for teens in terms of language development. Initial research indicated that when it comes to informal essays, kids who use some text-speak outperform kids who don’t. When it comes to formal essays, (perhaps obviously) texting can hurt performance.

I’m thinking the jury is still out on whether texting will end up being good or bad for teens, and that we won’t know the ultimate answer for a very long time.

My question is, does it really matter one way or the other?

Language changes. We don’t speak the King’s English anymore, although there are some who still cling to the King James Bible. I’ve heard my share of KJV-laced prayers in church (“We beseech thee, oh Lord”) but not nearly as much these days.

There will be plenty of English purists who stand watch and will be sure to warn along the way. Even so, will it matter?

I’m confident kids will still be learning proper English in schools for the immediate future.

I won’t be surprised, however, if things change over time. Look at how learning the skill of handwriting has disappeared in school curriculum over the years.

Today’s teenagers are going to text. Texting won’t be going away anytime soon. There might be something else beyond texting as technologies continue to develop, but for now texting is a primary mode of communication.

Back when my generation was moving through adolescence, I don’t remember that writing notes to friends (other than when we were in a class) was popular. We primarily communicated in person or by phone. Were the adults of that time concerned because we had lost the art of note or letter writing? Perhaps there were some. Were adults concerned about our casual verbal communication when they overheard our conversations? Has it made a difference in our lives today? Were we negatively impacted by the lack of writing as a form of communication to our peers? Can anyone now provide a qualitative answer? Does anyone care?

So now, kids are writing to communicate with their peers and adults at an impressively increasing rate. For language purists, it might be not be writing in the mode they would desire, but does it matter?

When teens text they have to think about language. They have to express their thoughts. That cannot be all bad.

If today’s teens are still texting well into their adult years, the English language might just look different than it does today. But, at least they’ll know the language and I’m thinking that they’ll be able to communicate successfully.

However, learning to express ones self is a different issue entirely! That’s where the true breakdown is. You can’t get a read on whether or not someone truly understands what you’re saying on the other side of a text. When you are talking directly with someone, you know right away whether or not you’re communicating.

Thanksgiving

What I’m thankful for.

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