I got the pics from our Gulf Shores Trip uploaded: Click the pic to see the album on Facebook.
Summer is the season for road trips and so I thought this little post might be helpful – Or at least a little fun. I don’t know about you, but it seems like every time I load the car, I start feeling a little like Clark Griswold. “We’re all gonna have so much . . . fun we’ll need plastic surgery to remove our . . . smiles.” I think it’s a dad’s job to make sure the family has some fun, whether they like it or not!!
Anyway, here are some of our rules for road trips. I’d also love to hear your ideas. You could make our family road trips better this year!
1. Daddy is in charge of music.
2. Kasen & Kesleigh choose movies which supersede any music choices daddy has. (Well, sort of. Daddy could override but chooses to give Kasen & Kesleigh preference out of his GREAT love for them. . . OK – maybe it also has to do with mommy and daddy’s sanity.)
3. Bathroom stops must be at least 2, NO! wait . . . 3hrs apart. Kasen is still being potty trained and so he can stop and pee on the side of the road whenever he chooses. Kesleigh can pee in her pull-up. Miranda can stop drinking Dr. Pepper!
4. Bucee’s is the best choice for a pit stop. All other rest stops are inferior. (One exception: The Czech Stop south of Ft Worth on I-35. Their kolache’s are amazing.)
5. Cherry Sours are vital to daddy’s road health. Judson-Atkinson are the best! (Thanks to my friend Jason Hess for the introduction.)
6. If you must travel with your dog, one should use extreme caution when navigating the “mine field” found in the Bucee’s patch of grass.
7. Good food choices for places to stop include but are not limited to: Arby’s, Braums, and Chickfila if they have a playground.
PS – Louisiana Exit 80 on I-10 used to be on the list, but evidently has a new less cleanly owner.
8. NO STOPPING IF BOTH KIDS ARE ASLEEP!
Extra Rules added by Miranda:
1. Car must be loaded down with Capri Suns, Fruit Snacks, and Dum Dums for kids.
2. Milkshakes should never be placed on the center armrest and then immediately elbowed onto the floor! (My bad baby. I’m sorry.)
3. Country music must be allowed on beautiful sunny days. (Can I veto this one?)
What other rules would you add?
Church staff people are valuable. (I know, ’cause I was one at one time.) Therefore, I have always said that if I was ever in a place where I got to make decisions regarding church staff, there are some things I’d like to offer them. Below are some of my ideas. What do you guys think??
Church Staff Benefits/Requirements
Our goal is to make this the best job you’ve ever had. We hope you find a place where you can feel supported, encouraged, and equipped to become all that God has called you to and want to lay a groundwork/foundation so this is possible. At any moment, we’d welcome any suggestions you might have for your own position or for one of your co-workers. We hope to treat each person as an individual and therefore your benefits may differ from your co-workers. We are not as interested in “equal” as we are in “what is right” for a particular situation/individual. We want to be as flexible as possible and believe that we have hired the right people and so we will choose to trust you with these benefits.
1. Must take 3 weeks vacation each year. This is extended to 4 weeks after serving for 5 yrs and to 5 weeks after 10 years of service. You will also get regular holidays where no one works.
2. Must take a 3 month sabbatical (paid) after 5 years of service. The number of vacation days you will receive will be reduced for this particular year.
3. Health/Dental Insurance for you and your family.
4. A month of sick leave each year – if needed. If there is a major event, more will be offered.
5. In the event of a pregnancy/birth, one month will be given to a husband for helping his family settle into the home – 3 months for a mother. All pre-natal doctor visits are excused for both mom and dad. For a parent, the family takes priority over the church. A staff person can only be healthy and effective professionally if his/her home life is healthy. We also believe that healthy homes among our staff people will serve as good examples to the congregation of what it means to live out our calling as parents.
6. One normal “work day” a month must be spent away from the office for the specific purpose of seeking God.
7. At least 2 normal “work days” a month (and as many as 1 day a week) must be spent serving in the community. The church will not just pay “lip service” & cash to the support of outside ministries. We realize that it may take you a little while to find a ministry niche that works for you and so we have also arranged a “local tour of ministries” for new staff people. Over the course of a couple months you’ll work in multiple ministries and meet the leaders of them. If your heart beats for something else, we’d also consider allowing/equipping/helping you to create a new outside ministry to be involved in regularly. However, this would be allowed sparingly. Church staff people generally do not need another thing to lead. They need places to serve and connect with people outside the church.
8. Parents will be excused from normal “work” to attend their children’s events.
9. You should plan to be away from each of your weekly/normal programs at least once a month. (This forces others to step into the leadership roles and encourages you to equip them rather than just doing it all yourself.) This also allows you to use this time to volunteer or visit another ministry within the church or even at another church to help you get new ideas and stay “fresh.”
10. Staff people will only work 5 days/week except in special occasions like church camp, mission trips, etc. For a regular week, we insist on you actually taking 2 days off.
11. Funeral leave.
12. Although we do not believe in retirement and cannot find it in Scripture, we do believe in fiscal responsibility and will offer a pension plan. You may set aside up to 3% of your salary and the church will match 1.5% of it.
PS – I realize that some of this may not be very practical and maybe even a bit over-the-top but I think I’d rather err on the side of generosity.
What are your thoughts??
Inspired by my friend Heather Zempel who posted a similar list, I decided to create my own list of things everyone should experience sometime in their lives during the Christmas season. I have already experienced some of these, but some are things I hope to experience.
50 Things to do during Christmas:
1. Watch “A Christmas Story” 5 times in a row on TBS.
2. Sit in Santa’s lap for a picture. It still counts if you cry your way through it.
3. Adopt a child (or 2 or 3) from the “Angel Tree” at church and buy gifts for him/her.
4. Cut down your own Christmas tree.
5. Decorate a Christmas tree with ornaments that have memories attached to them. Never waste your time making the tree look pretty or having matching ornaments.
6. Let your kids eat the strands of popcorn/fruit loops that you decorated the tree with.
7. Cut and decorate Christmas cookies with colored icing, sprinkles, red hots, etc. (Or just eat the ones your Aunt makes.)
8. Build a fire in the fireplace (yes, even if it’s 80 degrees outside) and read the Christmas story as a family.
9. Let the kids unwrap one gift on Christmas Eve, but make sure they get that same gift every year so there’s still no surprise.
10. Be intentional about spending some time reflecting on Emmanuel (God with Us) – Jesus.
11. Participate in a live nativity.
12. Spend at least 100 hours placing exactly 6 colored stars on tree cookies made of green tasteless dough which you will sell to the nearest Christmas Tree Farm to make $$ for Christmas gifts. (This was for you, Laurie.)
13. Go Christmas caroling.
14. Be surprised when someone kisses you under the mistletoe.
15. Attend a candlelight service with your family.
16. Incur some kind of injury Christmas afternoon as you play with your new toy. (“You’ll shoot your eye out kid.”)
17. Give a memory to someone. Experience something together.
18. Unwrap “the ball” with your family. (It’s a tape ball with small gifts wrapped inside. The ball gets passed around a circle and you get to keep what you unwrap. You keep unwrapping until the next person rolls a 6 with a pair of dice.)
19. Leave cookies out for Santa.
20. Eat cookies left for Santa.
21. Dress up as Santa Claus so that a child believes at least one more year.
22. Instead of buying gifts, give $$ to your favorite charity.
23. Go to the trouble (in spite of the traffic) to take the kids to see some spectacular Christmas lights.
24. Go on a hayride.
25. Sustain an injury and get frustrated as you ignore the instructions and attempt to assemble the things Santa left your kids.
26. Take family pictures.
27. Re-gift. Or use gift cards to buy gifts for others.
28. Watch the eyes of someone you love as they open a special gift.
29. Play football in the yard with the whole family Christmas afternoon.
30. Put pumpkin pie on your shoe, pretend you came in from outside, and then when someone notices the “poop,” wipe it off with your finger and eat it. (My brother’s idea – and it was hilarious! My grandma is the one who noticed.)
31. Use an advent calendar where you get to do something (Ex: eat a chocolate, hang an ornament, etc.) each day leading up to Christmas.
32. Display a nativity scene in your house and teach your children about the characters. (Last night, my 2-yr-old son Kasen, took “baby Jesus” to bed with him.)
33. See Andrew Peterson’s “Behold the Lamb” Christmas production (or at least listen to the recording each year.)
34. Arrange for your children to play “Jesus” in some sort of local Christmas production. Bonus if you are Mary and Joseph.
35. Wake up way too early as your kids anticipation gets the best of them.
36. Secretly open a gift, seal it back up, and then act surprised on Christmas morning.
37. Watch the “Nativity Story” movie.
38. Use baby powder to leave footprints from the fireplace to the place where Santa left the gifts. (But make sure you make the footprints go back too – my parents missed that last part.)
39. Count the number of Jesus figurines you can find at grandma’s house.
40. Ask your grandma/grandpa about how they remember spending Christmas as kids.
41. Eat monkey bread.
42. Enjoy a “White Christmas” and do some sledding, have a snowball fight, or build a snowman.
43. Take the family skiing in Colorado over the Christmas break.
44. Take the family to an old barn and read the Christmas story there among the animals and smells.
45. Bluebell Peppermint Ice Cream – it’s only made during the holidays.
46. Search the sky for Santa’s sleigh.
47. Get stranded due to icy/closed roads in some random west Texas town on the way to a ski trip. End up having to sleep with the animals ’cause there is “no room at the inn.” (It was Quanah, TX and the people of First Baptist Church were very gracious with their gym. They even let traveling pets sleep there.)
48. Drive all over the country trying to see all your relatives and in-laws on Christmas Day.
49. Snack on Chex Mix and Peppermint Bark.
50. Celebrate Emmanuel!!! (Jesus = Emmanuel = “God with Us”)
Things not to do:
1. Get so busy trying to do the things on this list that you forget #50.
We had an incredible time on our vacation to Gulf Shores this year! We spent the week with all the Mathews family and even got to spend a couple of days with Gran. (We went up early.) We spent most of our time on the beach or in the pool, (Kasen liked the pool better.) but we also went to the local zoo one day. We decided that if we ever go back, we’ll plan on a special outing at the zoo ’cause they offer an experience where you can play with monkeys for an extra $10. (We were too late to sign up this time around.) Anyway, I posted all the videos below and here is the link for all the pics from our trip: http://cornphotos.shutterfly.com/5456 (Some of them look professional.)
We have been away from home for the past week. Hurricane Ike was gonna force us out, so we left early last Wednesday, hoping to miss the traffic from the coming mandatory evacuation. We decided to go to Ft Worth to stay with my mom. My immediate family is all there.
It’s a strange thing to drive away from your house and wonder if it will be there when you return. It was great to know we’d see family and be safe with them, but still. . . .there’s just an ominous feeling that overwhelms you. As you laugh and enjoy visiting with each other or participate in the activities of the day, you can’t escape the passing thoughts of the destruction going on in the place you call home. Even the most joyful moments are tinged with a hint of anxiety – maybe it’s a lack of faith, but it’s definitely real. In spite of the forboding feelings, we tried to make the best of it. We even had some friends who called is a “Hurrication” – and they defined it as a vacation forced upon them by a hurricane. Our “hurrication” included a visit with my mom and family, a trip to the park, a trip to the Ft Worth zoo, a visit to Scott Crenshaw’s new church (New River Fellowship), visits with Joe Torrez (my old youth minister), with Leroy Krolczek (Mike and Patti’s best friend), and with Hans Googer (an old youth of mine.)
After our last evacuation, Miranda and I have gotten pretty good at the whole thing. We can drive away and still feel confident that everything that really matters to us most is in the car with us. It’s nice to know that we’re not too overly attached to our stuff.
I don’t want to finish this post with the view that everyone had a “hurrication” like we did. I recognize that there are many in our community, some close friends who have extremely difficult circumstances to return home to. We will be a part of the efforts to clean up and restore our community. As Miranda and I drove through town today and saw the destruction first-hand we felt very blessed to have had so little damage ourselves. I also noticed how many people were sitting out on their porches and in the yards just talking and being neighbors to one another. It’s our prayer that these circumstances will bring out the best in people and God will use it to draw us closer to one another. As the Genesis 50:20 says, it may have been intended for harm, but God intended it for good. Maybe by the end of all the relief efforts, we’ll all consider it a “hurrication.”