Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Brotherly Moment

HPIM0420
Alex and Kaden were (and still are) playing Wii together - Mario Kart, to be exact.  


Alex, after a few bad races, was getting down on himself and cried out "I'm the worst player ever in history!!!!"

Kaden's sincere and encouraging response to that was, "Alex, I thought you believed in yourself?"  LOL :)

I guess the things I say are staying in their brains somehow. 


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Anthem's Room

HPIM1423
Well, I hope she likes pink, because that's what she's getting.  Pink and Butterflies.  We just updated the room with some lettering (inspired by our good friends, The Bryans).  She's due March 30 and we'll probably have her HPIM1432
early.  Only 6-8 more weeks and we'll bring our little girl home!  Can't wait.  She's kicking like crazy already.  



Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jobs R Us: How I Teach My Kids to Work Well

AlexKaden1stDaySchool08-08
My boys are earning money every week through doing jobs rather than just getting an allowance.  They are learning not only the importance of work, but also the importance of how to handle their money.  For the most part, it works.  Some days, they are naturally more lazy, but they quickly get motivated again the next day when I remind them of their goal.  We learned this plan largely from Dave Ramsey - though we modified it a bit to suit our family dynamic.

OK, here's how it works.  Pick 5 jobs for your child to do each day.  Each job has a potential value of 10 points.  If they do the job exceptionally well and efficiently with no whining, they get 10 points for that job.  If the job is done satisfactory, but they whined about doing it, they might only get 5 points.  If they didn't do a good job and they complained about it, but they got it done eventually, you might only want to give your child 1 point.  Much of the point value for each job is up to your descretion.  As they get older, you might want to make the jobs more difficult.  Start them easy - at age 5 - and then increase the difficulty every 1 or 2 years.


When your child has finished his or her jobs for the day, tally the points at the bottom of that day.  Do this each day for 5 or 6 days (Mon - Sat) depending on your schedule. At the end of the week you get to do PAY DAY.  On Pay Day, you tally the points for the week.  It's up to you how you want to break out the points.  I suggest something like this: 


10 points is worth $1.00.  Then, count up by 5 points from there.  For example, if they earn 47 points for the week, they earn $4.50.  Does that make sense?  I don't recommend breaking it down any further than that or else it will be too complicated with nickels and dimes.  Keep it to dollar bills and quarters. 

VERY IMPORTANT: Ask your child to set a goal as to what they are going to do with their money.  They have a savings goal and a giving goal.  They give about 10% each week to good causes - whether it be a non-profit, ministry or church.  My boys have a goal to save $60 each by the end of March. They are each saving for a new Wii Game.  Kaden is getting even more aggressive - he says he's already saving for a car - he has 9 more years before he starts driving, but hey, who am I to argue!? 

Hope it works well for you!



Monday, January 19, 2009

Bush 43

George-w-bush-picture
Thank you, Mr. President, for doing what you thought was best for our nation.  Thank you for serving our country and taking a back seat to your own interests.  We may never know all of the ways you protected us from harm.  We are forever grateful for your leadership after 9/11. While I didn't always agree with your decisions, I'm sure you did the best you knew how.  You leave office with very few regrets.  Happy Retirement, Mr. President!  Thank you for serving me, my family and my country so well.



Monday, January 12, 2009

The Correct Pronunciation of Syrup

Pancakes
The great debate around our house these days is the correct pronunciation of the word "syrup".  Krissy comes from Michigan where they pronounce it "sir-rup".  I come from New Jersey, where we pronounce it "see-rup". Kaden takes his mommy's side.  Alex takes his daddy's side.  We tried to end the argument by calling a famous pancake place here in Nashville, The Pancake Pantry.  Unfortunately, they haven't seen the light yet and pronounce it "sir-rup".  That was a few months ago.  I sort of conceded, but also with the understanding that here in the south, they probably pronounce it that way because it's easier and less proper.  


Just recently, we watched Dan In Real Life again, one of my favorite movies, and they all pronounced it "see-rup".  Well, that just stirred up the old argument again.  This morning, over "see-rup" and oatmeal, I decided to look it up on Google.  Someone posted that it could be pronounced both ways on Wikipedia.  There was actually another forum where it was discussed at length, but no clear cut conclusion was drawn.  

I just went onto a blog site that seems to be much about pancakes and asked them if they could give me a definitive answer.  If they respond, I'll let you know. 2009 must be the year when we put this issue to rest.

If not, I'm afraid we may never be able to 'pronounce' a winner on this one.  Then, I will continue to say "see-rup" along with Alex.  Krissy will continue to say "sir-rup" with Kaden and we'll just have to live with it.  

Please send back any comments that may enlighten me on this issue.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Father & Son Bowl

Fatherandson
My boys and I look forward to the Father & Son Bowl every year.  Last year I played with Pneumonia.  


It takes place on the Saturday of Superbowl Weekend in Franklin, TN.  Lasko Fields off Columbia Avenue. If you want to register, there is still time...Click on the Father & Son Bowl Website.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Milk Day?!

Milk
Alex looked at the calendar and said out loud, "Milk Day?!".  We checked what he was reading and it said "MLK Day"!


I'm looking forward to celebrating Milk Day with Alex on the 19th.  Do you prefer Skim MLK or Whole MLK?


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Middle Finger Promise

HPIM1222
Kaden and his mommy were talking in the minivan over the Christmas break.  He was making a mess in the car.  Krissy was getting upset with him and asked him if he would clean it up.  He said he would.  Krissy, asked him again if would really do it, because he has a habit of not doing things we ask him to do.  He said, "I promise, Mommy, middle finger promise." 


Krissy cracked up, of course, because she knew he thought he was making a "pinky promise".  Looking at the positive, at least he picked one of his fingers...


Uncomfortable

I was out with a business account last night from the UK.  He is the Managing Director of a major Christian media company there.  He is younger than me and very sharp.  He shared something with me that I won't forget.  


"I never want to be comfortable in my job.  I always want to be in a position where I'm completely out of my comfort zone."

How completely opposite of our nature?!  I have to admit I've been complacent at times - looking for opportunities to be unchallenged.  

But it's in those positions where we are not comfortable and insecure that we learn and grow the most.  

This year, may I also put myself in a position to be completely uncomfortable and insecure.  Why do what I already know to do?  I'm just doing the same thing and remaining stagnant.  If I were a muscle, the same old workout would not produce any better results.  

Thank you, my friend, for sharing something profound with me.  


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Quick Draw McGraw

Quickdraw
That devotional from Os Hillman I posted today has got me asking a lot of questions.  


In my business, for example, what have I taken to God?  

Why has my work life been so difficult over the last year or so?  Why has the labor been more difficult than normal?  

Why have I been fighting off more and more negative thoughts this year regarding my work?  Have I stopped to ask God before making decisions this year?  No, not specifically.  Generally, I'll begin my days asking God to help me make good decisions.  But, is that really enough?

Could it be that I've taken on labels or artists that God never intended to give me?  My business manager often calls me 'Quick Draw McGraw' because I work too fast and sometimes make errors as a result.  Have I been 'Quick Draw McGraw' in picking up new business?  

As I pose these questions to God, in my spirit, I'm sensing the answer is yes to this last question.  I sense God saying "Yes, Eric, you've been making agreements with others that you shouldn't be making.  You need to slow down, release what I have not given you.  You are making your work life much more difficult than I ever intended for you." 

"A man can receive only what is given him from heaven." - John 3:27

I hope to expound more on this in future posts...for now, I'm going to do some more work, deal with my broken down minivan and continue praying about this over lunch.  Contemplatively yours...



Receiving Only From God

"A man can receive only what is given him from heaven." - John 3:27


When John's disciples came to him and asked if he was the Messiah, he responded that he was not and that one could only be what God had given him to be. He was a forerunner to the Messiah, and he was fulfilling a call God had given him. We cannot acquire and become anything that God has not given us. God gave John that anointing. We must ask whether we are trying to be or trying to acquire anything God has not given us. When we seek to acquire anything that God has not given us, we can expect God to respond to us like any good father would to a child. He will remove that which the child is not supposed to have.

David understood this principle. When he was preparing to furnish the temple, he told God in his prayer, "Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand" (1 Chron. 29:14b).


- Os Hillman (Marketplaceleaders.org)


Monday, January 5, 2009

Failure

"The Hebrews knew that failure was a part of maturing in God. The Greeks used failure as a reason for disqualification. Sadly, in the Church, we often treat one another in this way. This is not God's way. We need to understand that failing does not make us failures. It makes us experienced. It makes us more prepared to be useful in God's Kingdom—if we have learned from it. And that is the most important ingredient for what God wants in His children." - Os Hillman



Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith

Prodigal-god
Tim Keller opens up a new way of looking at the story of the Prodigal Son. He opens up many new aspects of Jesus' parable that I hadn't thought of before. A must read to more fully understand the heart of God.  


One of the most thought-provoking points is that the story is actually about both brothers and the father. Most people focus on the younger brother, his sin and the father's celebratory welcoming home. But, this book takes a more balanced look at what Jesus was intending with the parable. He was speaking to the Pharisees. Therefore, the elder brother's response is equally as interesting - especially since I hadn't given the elder brother as much thought before.

I finished it in a couple of hours. An easy read. I couldn't put it down. I hope to read more of Keller this year.




Thursday, January 1, 2009

Dissolving Partnerships

TGIFCoverdropshadow
Another excellent devotional reading from Os Hillman - TGIF...


So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the Lord. - Genesis 13:18

Abraham took a totally different approach to solving this problem. He told Lot to choose which land he wanted. Imagine, Abraham could have been dooming himself and his family if he was unable to find adequate land and water for them. He gave up his rights in the matter, and Lot took full advantage. "Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar" (Gen. 13:10). So Lot left and took up residence in the valley later to be known as Sodom and Gomorrah. Sometimes what seems good on the front end turns out to be disastrous later. Such would be the case for Lot and his family. 

As for Abraham, he made a choice. He decided to take life's high road—a choice that didn't necessarily mean his life circumstances would benefit him. He was willing to leave that outcome to God. He made the decision based on an eternal measuring stick. Interestingly, the place where Abraham moved was called Mamre. In Hebrew, the name Mamre means "strength." How can choosing the weakest position become "strength"? Jesus must have asked the same question of His Father when faced with the proposition of going to the cross. How can the cross be a place of strength? The devil thought he had won, but the cross is what freed the captives for eternity. The Bible tells us that when we are weak, then we are really strong. To willingly choose the way of the cross becomes our strength.


Taken from Os Hillman's TGIF.