Favorite Tweets from August

About 8 years ago, we had this picture taken for our church photo directory. Our third child, Sender, was only a few months from being born.

Due to the church growth -- both in the number of new families and in the number of babies being born -- this directory was very quickly out-of-date.

Here's to great memories!

And here's to some of my favorite tweets from the past month:

From Others:

@TolkienProverb"A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it." - J.R.R. Tolkien - The Children of Húrin

@mitchmillermeGive everything 100%. Except when you donate blood.

@RaviZachariasIs there enough evidence to believe in the existence of God, or is it too much of a stretch?

@MikeGlennJesus left us no loopholes. Obedience to Him is total -- no exceptions, no excuses... 

@PaulTrippYes, you are called to worship God above all else. No, God will not reject you in that moment when an idol grips your heart.

@HomesofHopeSCBig thanks to the 6th graders from 1st Presbyterian helping us do some landscaping at Chicora Crest!

@ASCDRegardless of what you teach, try beginning each lesson like with some sort of attention-getting statement:

@MarkMerrillParenting requires prayer, patience, and perseverance.


From Me:

"The great irony of minimalism is ... it still makes stuff the focus of your life!"

Had a good morning working with neighbors in a neighborhood yard day. And met some cool folks from @HomesofHopeSC

"I will pray that my heart will mourn with , & that I will be broken for the things that break God’s heart."

God used this mission trip to help her grow in Christ and in community.  

Do Your Children Labor?

Earlier this month, government officials in Canada ordered a farm to stop using child labor. But this isn't your typical case of exploitation.

The children in question were the children of the farm owners. That's right -- what may be considered household responsibilities or chores, was now deemed illegal.

(After a large public outcry, the decision was reversed.)

Here's a great commentary on Canada's child labour pandemic. (It's a joke! And you'll love it.)

For more on responsibilities (and allowances), check out this post.

I hope you have a restful Labor Day weekend!

The Beauty Under the Bridge

This summer has brought big transitions for us. Things are familiar, but with new twists.

We moved from Allendale, SC back to Greenville, but in a different part of town than we've ever lived. We are back at Grace Church, but at a different campus. I have a job working with children, but exactly what we will do is yet to be determined.

In the midst of this, our children are experiencing change as well. They are all still homeschooled, but going to a new cooperative. They are making new friends, especially at our new church campus.

Our daughter, Hannah, will be a teenager next month, and she recently took part in her first church mission trip. As you'd expect, she learned a lot that week. Even more, I grew in my appreciation of our awesome church, and all the staff and leaders who have supported us over the years.

I wrote about her experience on this mission trip, and how so many ministries at our church combined to help her understand herself and be in community.

Check out my guest post on the Grace Women's Ministry blog. It's called Beautiful Underneath.

“There is beauty and power in inviting, nurturing, and partnering. But to fully experience that beauty and power, the walls of self have to be torn down.”

My Son's Struggle with Pessimism. And Mine, Too.

Whereas my daughter is naturally optimistic, my older son and I are definite pessimists. While our analytical natures help protect us from jumping in too quickly, our lack of faith in ourselves, others, and (most importantly) God also tends to hurt our relationships.

I wrote about our personal struggle, and how we are trying to trust God with it, on my latest guest post for Family Matters, The Struggle of Pessimism.

I hope you head over to Family Matters blog to check it out.

But if you don't, well, my pessimism will be right on target again!

Focusing Our Family on the Bible

Over the past year, I realized that I have not done great leading my children be Biblically-oriented. We've done a few things to disciple them in this area, such as with teaching (and modeling for) them how and why to read the Bible.

But in many training moments with them (both corrective and formative), I realize that more often than not, I have been teaching them good Biblical principles, instead of pointing them to the Bible itself. (This is one of the big take-aways I got from reading "Don't Make Me Count to Three!")

Additionally, while we have many discussions about living on mission for Jesus, I don't feel like we have an over-arching vision for where we are heading. As we begin this next school year, and as we begin the next step of our adventure, I feel like we need to have a more definitive focus and vision.

Now, I don't think that we will create a long mission or vision statement, though we know many families that have done this. And if you want to give it a try, check out these suggestions from Family Matters and All Pro Dad.

But for our family, we will focus on three Bible verses or passages. These will provide an overall framework for most of our discussions, as it relates to our family, other relationships, church, ministry, school, and more.

Our Family Verses

Here are the three that we chose:
  1. 2 Corinthians 5:17  "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."
  2. Mark 12:30-31  "'And you shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
  3. Proverbs 27:17  "Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another."

Or, to break these down into simpler terms:
  1. In Christ we are changed.  We all sin and we are all selfish. But only through trusting in Jesus can we be changed, not through our own efforts.
  2. Love God, love others.  I wrote about these greatest commandments in What's So Great About the Great Commission?   
  3. Allow ourselves to be sharpened by others. We have to help each other, and we have to be humble in how we each receive correction and advice. 

We've already had some great talks, especially as we discussed how we need to reach out in our new community. And for most of our family, this is difficult. We struggle with passivity and being self-protective.

We have talked about how Jesus didn't always do what He wanted to do, but He submitted to the Father's will (see John 6:38). Just because something feels good doesn't mean it is good, and just because something feels bad (like "being sharpened" by others) doesn't mean that it is wrong.

What's the Plan?

We will post the verse references in our living room or dining area, as a reminder. And we will work on memorizing the scripture, too. Other than that, we (as parents) will use these concepts throughout our everyday conversations.

I'm not sure if we'll keep these verses for a year and then come up with new ones for next year, or if we'll keep these for longer. That's the beauty of this idea. We can move forward and see how it goes! 

What about you? Does your family have a vision statement? Or will you focus on a few verses this year? 

Related Links:

**image by David Ball (Original work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Reflecting God's Image in Her Optimism

Where do you fall on the optimism - pessimism spectrum? What about your kids?

Me? I'm definitely on the pessimistic side. Or, as we negative-minded folks like to say, "I'm not a pessimist; I'm a realist." (As if we hold the only keys to truth.)

I can be so negative, that I once made it a goal to make myself think of one positive thing every day for a month. I have to work to be optimistic.

Not my daughter, Hannah. She is purely optimistic in nature. And while this causes some turmoil between us (mostly my fault), I am overjoyed that God created her with such hope and innocence.

In her optimism, Hannah is reflecting God's image in her.

Want to learn more? Check out my latest guest post on the Family Matters blog, called Reflecting God's Image in Optimism.

I'm positive that you'll enjoy reading it.

Then, check out the 2nd part of this series: My Son's Struggle with Pessimism. And Mine, Too.

Fall Reading (Back to School!)

Yes, it's almost time for your kids to go back to school. But we parents must be constant learners.

Every now and then, friends and acquaintances ask me what books and resources I recommend. And sometimes I recommend some without being asked.

Most of the books that I'm recommending here are older ones. But I find that most newer ones either aren't as good, or are variations on the same theme. If I was starting over again with a family, I'd be sure to read these books over and over.


Shepherding a Child's Heart (Tedd Tripp). No doubt, the best parenting book, as it calls the reader to continually focus on the gospel.

Age of Opportunity (Tedd Tripp). Almost a continuation of Shepherding, as it speaks more to parents of teenagers.

Don't Make Me Count to Three! (Ginger Plowman). Same focus on the gospel (though not as deep) as above, but with more practical application.

Hints on Child Training (H. Clay Trumbull). An old book, but with some very valuable and relevant applications.

The Story of Me, et al (Stan and Brenna Jones). Though it has some shortcomings, this series of four books would be a great start to having "sex" talks with your children. We have bought Passport to Purity and will soon start going through that material with our oldest.

What Did You Expect?? (Paul David Tripp). A book on marriage, not parenting. But healthy marriages tend to produce healthy children. And, as with all his books, the reader will gain a better understanding of the how the gospel should be the focus of our lives.


Articles from these sites are always informative and challenging:

I still have many books on my shelf that are in my "to-read" list. Lots of learning to do!

Happy reading!

Related Links:

**image courtesy of lusi via rgbstock.com