Archive for September, 2011

Man…This is a Hard Job!

If you have been following my blog for the last week, you will know that we had a terrible wind storm that knocked down several trees and required some major clean and debris removal. My aching joints are still “feeling it.” As I was dragging and pulling limbs over the weekend, I was reminded of things that are hard. It was hard dragging the limbs and getting them in the right place where we could get a chain under them and through them to pull them off.

There was a learning curve. My sister and I figured out that we needed to tell dad to cut the limbs just below a fork on in the limb and that we could hook the chain in the fork and then drag them limbs more easily to the debris pile with Dad’s tractor. Man…that was a slick assessment by the Brown progeny…because it worked like a charm.

I think back of working side by side with my younger sister and I remember our childhood days together. They were mostly really good! (I know you were wondering what I would say, Kim :)) But, there were times that we disagreed and had arguments. The same is true for my own family today and I bet yours too.

There are times I wonder if I’m getting anything right with my children. It seems the chain at times wants to slip off and it doesn’t seem to be “grabbing hold.” Do you know what I mean? Don’t get me wrong…Pam and I are blessed with wonderful children…but, unfortunately, they all take after me…so, they are “big-time” not perfect. So, what do we do? We don’t quit. We keep re-assessing and make adjustments and go at it again.

But I want to be real honest. Sometimes I just want peace in my home. Do you? If there has been a bad night of bickering and fighting…sometimes I just want to sacrifice principle for peace. How ’bout you? Want a little peace and quiet? Get tired of the battle? Want to give up? Move to Siberia? Dig a hole and crawl in and pull the hole in after you? Sure you do! We all do at times. Why? Because we get tired and we need time to rest and recharge.

As my Dad was cutting up all those tree limbs Friday and Saturday,

we had to MAKE him rest, because he’s so driven! I’m just like him (it takes one to know one :)). But, we finally had to pull him aside and say, “Dad, you’ve got to rest a minute or you are going to overheat.” Boy, that’s me in my home so often. I get “overheated.” You know…angry. Then I say things I shouldn’t.

Man…this is a hard job!

Yes…it isn’t easy. No manuals come with our children when they are born to us or adopted. No one gives us a “How-to” guide do they? But, we don’t need one. Why? Because we actually have one. The Bible of course. I think of all of those passages in Proverbs that Solomon wrote to give us guidance and I think of one of my favorites in Hebrews 12:

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

Isn’t that good? Let’s be reminded that the Lord Jesus is our example. We are not to grow weary or fainthearted in the battle.

So what do we do? Keep talking. If we get angry with each other as parents and children and don’t keep talking we’ll never work anything out. We have to keep hammering at it. And I’ve learned as a Dad that I set the tone. If I’m being sarcastic or mean-spirited, then my kids will too. If I’m willing to take some bumping and grinding in the paint on the basketball floor…surely I’m strong enough and tough enough to roll up my sleeves and listen in my home instead of just pounding my fist in anger and saying “This is how it’s going to be!”

Sometimes, I’ve learned the best thing I can do encompasses two words:

I’m sorry.

Yep…just admitting I’m wrong softens the situation no matter what’s going on. Do you know when I try to flee to “peace” instead of being willing to roll up my sleeves and listen and talk and love…I’m really telling my children “I don’t care what you do…I’m tired and I just want to rest.” Well, that’s when we take a deep breath and look toward heaven and ask the Heavenly Father for strength and calmness and take a break before we get overheated.

When my Dad sat down and got some water and cool towel for his neck…the work was still there…staring him in the face…along with the rest of us. Tree limbs everywhere the eye could see.

But, just resting for a moment…drinking in some water and taking 15 minutes to reassess the situation made it all better.

Hmmmm. I’m feeling better. Are you? Ready to go back in again? In Christ…with the refreshing of the water of life “His Word” we can do it. In our own strength…we’ll just seek peace and never pull the debris from our lives. I’m thankful for the sustenance of the Word of Life and for the Savior who gives it!

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The Clean-up…

What a mess! I never knew cutting up some trees could be so hot and tiring. Boy, am I getting old! I don’t have near the stamina I once did. I can tell I live a sedentary life-style. I sit, sit and sit some more. Hospitals, rest-homes, studying, driving, counseling, working, writing…it’s all sitting. So, when I finally have to do some manual labor. Well…I’m grunting it out…

Leah’s driving and I’m unloading…fire wood for the winter bonfires. 🙂

Take a look at this face…

Dad did the hard work. Running that chainsaw is tough stuff! My Dad is superman! I mean that! I’ve never seen anyone with his strength and stamina.

Here’s a pretty tired group of Browns and Churches.

Here’s where one of the Bradford Pears stood…before…

Different angle…but, here’s the after…

We’ve got more to do to finish in the morning…but, we’re all tuckered out. We’ve picked up zillions of limbs, blown of the leaves that were plastered to our houses and cleared the driveway. What a mess! But, I’m grateful for a wonderful family and for God’s blessings. Thanks to Tim Wentz and Justin Gourley who begged to help today…thanks guys…you are loved and appreciated… There’s a whole passel of us…so…we were able to knock it out.

Ok…I think I’m going to go lie down… 🙂

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Blown Away

We were almost blown away last night. We had straight line winds estimated at category 1 (75-90 mph winds) hurricane strength come through our area last night. I’m 43 years old and I’ve never seen anything like it.

This is a Bradford Pear tree that’s in my mom and dad’s front yard. Amazing!

The winds ripped our canopy to shreds…

I’m going to be busy cutting down trees for the next two days with my Dad. There are about a dozen trees that will need to be addressed around our properties and my sister and brother-in-law’s Craig and Kim Church. This tree is down at my Aunt Norma and Uncle Dean’s house…

The winds demolished Dean’s greenhouse…

The road (Old Highway 421, a.k.a Boone Trail) was blocked for about 30 minutes with trees that are now lying in our yard…(pushed there so cars could pass)…

This tree will be addressed in about 10 minutes… Dad’s probably waiting on me now… 🙂

Here’s a couple more shots of the damage…

This is a huge white pine that is at the edge of our yard…thankfully it fell southwest…into the woods and not into the yard…we’ll probably leave this one…

This calf will have to be “put down.” A tree fell on it (where it was huddled with about 20 other cows) during the storm. Amazingly, I saw a cow (perhaps it’s mother) trying to pull a limb off of it right after the storm. She had the branch in her teeth and was backing up like a bulldozer. Never seen anything like it. The calf is crippled…broken back, right leg.

The storm finally passed and we saw the presence of the Lord as the winds passed…

Reminds me of this passage…

15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children— Psalm 103

God is gracious and spared us. Thank you Father. Your power is great and I’m indeed “blown away” by your mercy and love. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Well…I hear Dad’s tractor running…Got to go…clean up in progress…

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Feeding the Dogs

You know, I’ve been thinking (and that’s dangerous…:), we all have appetites. As Christians we have two natures or appetites. One appetite is for the things of God or the Spirit, while the other is for sinful things or the flesh. These appetites are at battle within our minds and the minds of our children. They are like two dogs fighting against one another.

Whatever appetite or dog we feed becomes the strongest. If we feed the sinful dog things like questionable movies, TV shows, music and video games, that dog, the flesh, will grow and dominate the other. If we feed the spiritual dog things like Bible teaching, Scripture memory, wholesome TV, movies and music, good books, adult interaction and conversation, etc. the spirit will grow.

Sometimes we feed the fleshly appetites in our children unknowingly. We can dress our daughters in cute revealing outfits when they are young and feed the appetite of immodesty in our teen girls. A short skirt on an 8-year-old might look cute, but on a 16-year-old it sends much different signals. So, why put it on the 8-year-old in the first place? We can encourage and allow violent video games for our boys to play and feed the appetite of rage and violence that leads to lawlessness. We can tell the 4th graders that are “in love” that it is ok to sit holding hands together. But, those 4th graders grow up to get their license and drive cars and the hand holding that has been allowed for years steadily grows to feed the lust of promiscuous relationships during the teen years. In the book Family Driven Faith, Dr. Voddie Baucham describes the problem. Writes Baucham (Voddie Baucham, Family Driven Faith, p. 21):

“Modern American dating is no more than glorified divorce practice. Young people are learning how to give themselves away in exclusive, romantic, highly committed (at times sexual) relationships, only to break up and do it all over again. God never intended for His kids to live like this. And instead of stepping in and doing something, many Christian parents, simply view these types of relationships as a normal and necessary part of growing up. Unless your child is wiser than Solomon, stronger than Samson, and more godly than David (all of whom sinned sexually), they are susceptible to sexual sin, and these premature relationships serve as open invitations.”

Things that seem harmless for children when they are young will most often grow into big, hungry dogs in older years. We must understand that God knows exactly whom our child’s husband or wife is going to be. If he is all-knowing, and he is, then we must trust that he will orchestrate the circumstances to bring them together. We, nor our children, need to do this for God. He is more than capable. Being involved in exclusive relationships before you are ready to be married is like going shopping without any money. Doing so will leave you frustrated, or you will take something that doesn’t belong to you. We must pray for God’s discernment that we do not feed the wrong dog in our children concerning relationships with the opposite sex. Whatever we allow in moderation, they will take to excess.

Feeding the good in our children may mean cutting back in some areas that aren’t necessarily bad. We may have to come to the point that we are willing to sacrifice the good so that we may have the best for our children. This may require us to have some difficult conversations with our children. For instance, it may mean explaining that the goal of raising them to be a disciple of Christ will require cutting back on extra-curricular activities. Believe me, this is where it gets hard. If you have raised your child on a steady diet of activities, sports, hobbies, lessons, etc. outside the home, and you begin curtailing those activities, they will most likely balk.

But if we are going to train young people to be mature, Christ-following adults, we will have to do the hard things and make that investment. Ultimately the goal is to see that our children and grandchildren are with us in Heaven? So, we store up for ourselves treasures in heaven…and isn’t the greatest treasure our very own children?

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