Sunday, June 28, 2009

Isaiah's 7th!

For Isaiah's birthday parties usually we just invite Joshua Overbeek over and we're set. But with their departure we told Isaiah he could plan a party and send out 7 invitations. After much deliberation and vetting of all options he settled on Hinkle Family Fun Center and invited 7 families (around 25 people!).

He had a great time playing putt-putt and lazer tag with everybody. Here are a few shots.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Eli's first song

Eli's been working on a song he wrote this week. In his premier performance Grace supplies back-up vocals.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Young Peacemaker re-visited

We finished our second pass through The Young Peacemaker this week. We first read it together in 2007. This time we went through it during family worship and found it to be a really useful training resource for working through sibling rivalry and other forms of conflict. Many of the ideas in the book are probably too much for a child under 6 to grasp, but all of the children enjoyed the role play and stories.

This is a great resource for a family to use and re-use. We'll probably go through it every other year or so for many years to come.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"My wife and children are killing me" and it's the best thing that could happen

This is an excellent post for fathers and those who love them. It's an excerpt from Andrew Peach's post at First Things's On the Square blog.

Most fathers-to-be suppose that their old ego-centered lives will continue more or less unabated after the child arrives. With the exception of a few more obstacles and demands on their time, their involvement with their children is envisioned as being something manageable and marginal. Nothing like a complete transformation—an abrupt end to their former life—really enters men’s minds.

But then the onslaught begins, and a man begins to realize that these people, his wife and children, are literally and perhaps even intentionally killing his old self. All around him everything is changing, without any signs of ever reverting back to the way they used to be. Into the indefinite future, nearly every hour of his days threatens to be filled with activities that, as a single-person or even a childless husband, he never would have chosen. Due to the continual interruptions of sleep, he is always mildly fatigued; due to long-term financial concerns, he is cautious in spending, forsaking old consumer habits and personal indulgences; he finds his wife equally exhausted and preoccupied with the children; connections with former friends start to slip away; traveling with his children is like traveling third class in Bulgaria, to quote H.L. Mencken; and the changes go on and on. In short, he discovers, in a terrifying realization, what Dostoevsky proclaimed long ago: “[A]ctive love is a harsh and fearful reality compared with love in dreams.” Fatherhood is just not what he bargained for.

Yet, through the exhaustion, financial stress, screaming, and general chaos, there enters in at times, mysteriously and unexpectedly, deep contentment and gratitude. It is not the pleasure or amusement of high school or college but rather the honor and nobility of sacrifice and commitment, like that felt by a soldier. What happens to his children now happens to him; his life, though awhirl with the trivial concerns of children, is more serious than it ever was before. Everything he does, from bringing home a paycheck to painting a bedroom, has a new end and, hence, a greater significance. The joys and sorrows of his children are now his joys and sorrows; the stakes of his life have risen. And if he is faithful to his calling, he might come to find that, against nearly all prior expectations, he never wants to return to the way things used to be.

You can read the whole thing here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Celebrating that blissful day

A dozen roses, an exchange of cards, a quiet dinner (to be followed by a quiet night we hope), this is how we celebrate our 15th.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Worship without the "kickin' band"

The popular internetmonk blog received a loud response when he lamented the approach to corporate worship found within much of evangelicalism--"an approach that demands ridiculous levels of musical, technical and financial commitment and resources".

His points are worth serious reflection; here are a few.

"We have a lot of happy people right now. They have no idea what Biblical worship is outside of the context of their favorite songs played by a kickin’ band."

"We have tied ourselves to the Christian music industry and its endless appetite for change and profit.

"We have accepted that all of our worship leaders are going to be very, very young people."

"Worship is now a major audience event, led by skilled entertainers, aimed at a demographic and judged by the audience reaction."

"Let’s worship means the band will play. We need to give more time to worship doesn’t mean silent prayer or public scripture reading or any kind of participatory liturgy. It means music."

"Even singing is getting lost in this. As the volume and the performance level goes up, who knows who is singing?"

The elders at our church would be the first to tell you that our corporate worship has room for improvement. But what we are after is better congregational singing (i.e. more joyful and reverent). We're very thankful that our congregation isn't interested in the approach found in most evangelical churches today.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Parenting older children

Here's a link (audio and notes) for the best talk on parenting of older children (tweens and up) that I've heard. The speaker, Bob Kauflin*, manages to condense the wisdom of several great parenting books into one address and weave in stories from his own experience raising six children.

I highly recommend the audio.

*Bob Kauflin is a pastor and worship leader in a Sovereign Grace church.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Growth in grace

Here's a pretty helpful syllogism:

1. The #1 goal in life is to grow in grace.
2. Growth in grace happens by increasing the use of the "ordinary means of grace" (Word, sacraments, and prayer).
3. Therefore I should always want more of the ordinary means of grace.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Darth Double Dogs

Zeke is not the only one in the family to relish hot dogs (...forgive me). Isaiah has been enamored with a Star Wars cookbook recipe that turns a couple of dogs into Darth Maul's weapon of choice. (You're not really surprised, are you, to hear that there is a Star Wars cookbook?)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Daddy & daughter tea

Grace and I enjoyed an afternoon tea at St James Tea Room near Old Town Albuquerque.

The two hour reservation allows plenty of time for conversation, tea, and enjoying the kitchen's creations. We were delighted to discover that the art in this little nook was from the brush of Lynn Hartenberger, a friend from church!

With Grace's 10th birthday coming up I was able to lay some important framework on modesty, dating, and peer pressure before she forms her own opinions (with the culture's help). The tea room website even offers some talking points to help us dads along.