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Mar
23

Please Don’t Mess with My Peanut Butter

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerNormally, I’m a rather calm, cool and collected person. Actually, my creditors trying to collect things from me, mostly money, are responsible for this and I have been officially collected. If I could only collect my thoughts, but the pieces are too small and too few.

Anybody who knows me knows I am not easily rattled by anything. I let the chips fall where they may because I know from whence they came. I am not susceptible to the various rumors making their way around on a regular basis.

All the debate about global warming, for example, has not in the least disturbed my personal serenity. Some say the earth is getting warmer while others insist it is getting cooler. Who in the world are you to believe? One scientist frantically reported that if we do not do something quickly in 1500 years, the earth is going to get 10° warmer than it is right now. One can only hope he was not a Rhodes Scholar.

Then there was the hullabaloo about how harmful chocolate was to a person only to be discovered later that it has marvelous health benefits. Pass me another bonbon.

Others took potshots at coffee. Again, it was found that a morning cup of Joe is just the thing to get a person on the go.

I took all of these things in the good-natured way that is typical of Yours Truly. I try not to let anything get my dander up. In fact, I am quite proud of the humble way in which I respond to all of these negativities, usually, with a cup of coffee in one hand and a bonbon in the other.

All was going well until one morning, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage rattled my cage. She takes great pleasure in doing something like this.

“Have you seen the trouble they are having with peanut butter?”

This caught me by surprise because I had not heard any such thing. My wife went on to explain that, in some cases, they were recalling certain peanut products. Personally, I know a few nuts that need to be recalled.

I do not mind if they fool around with global warming, and recall every car on the planet. I care not what they say about chocolate and coffee, but I go by one simple rule; do not mess with my peanut butter.

My underlying philosophy is, man shall not live by bread alone, he needs a little bit of peanut butter to hold it all together.

I am not sure who invented peanut butter, it might have been God himself; all I know it is the food of the gods. According to Wikipedia, there has never been a time in history when there was not some form of peanut butter.

It is one of the few essential items in this world that nobody can get along without. I can hardly imagine a world without this marvelous concoction, either creamy or crunchy.

There are many things I can get along without, but I cannot get along without my daily ration of peanut butter.

Some people have chocolate as comfort food. Some people’s comfort food of choice is a bag of salty potato chips. Others pamper their comfort with ice cream. And I say, to each one his own. My comfort food is simply peanut butter, preferably crunchy.

The thing about peanut butter that is so amazing is it can be used in a variety of ways. I would guess that the list is all but limitless. Hardly a month goes by that I do not discover a new way to enjoy peanut butter.

There, of course, is the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Every thoughtful and loving mother starts her young brood off on nutritious and delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwichs. If your mother was quite like my mother, she affectionately trimmed the edges, which made the peanut butter all the more delightful.

Need I mention Peanut Butter Cookies, Peanut Butter Fudge, Southern Peanut Butter Soup with Pepper Jelly, Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Candy, and a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sundae?

I’m not alone in this appreciation. “To me, peanut butter is the breakfast of champions!” opined Greg Louganis, Olympic Diver. And if anybody should know what a champion eats for breakfast, he should.

Peanut butter can be used for breakfast, lunch and supper. And for all those snacks in between.

Those who know the history of our country will remember that two Presidents of the United States were peanut farmers [Jefferson and Carter]. I am not sure of this, but I think it helped them deal with the nuts at Washington.

Of all the ways to enjoy peanut butter, there is one I prefer above all else. That is simply a nice tablespoon of peanut butter right out of the jar. If a tablespoon is not handy, several fingers will do the trick admirably.

Really, there is no wrong way to enjoy the marvelous taste of peanut butter.

Speaking of comfort food, the Bible has the perfect recipe. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalms 23:4).

God has a marvelous way of taking our attention away from the trials of this world and focus our thoughts on Him.

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.net. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.

SHORT VERSION = 550 WORDS

Please Don’t Mess with My Peanut Butter
Dr. James L. Snyder

Normally, I’m a rather calm, cool and collected person. Actually, my creditors trying to collect things from me, mostly money, are responsible for this and I have been officially collected. If I could only collect my thoughts, but the pieces are too small and too few.

All was going well until one morning the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage rattled my cage. She takes great pleasure in doing something like this.

“Have you seen the trouble they are having with peanut butter?”

This caught me by surprise because I had not heard any such thing. My wife went on to explain that, in some cases, they were recalling certain peanut products. Personally, I know a few nuts that need to be recalled.

My underlying philosophy is, man shall not live by bread alone, he needs a little bit of peanut butter to hold it all together.

It is one of the few essential items in this world that nobody can get along without. I can hardly imagine a world without this marvelous concoction, either creamy or crunchy.

There are many things I can get along without, but I cannot get along without my daily ration of peanut butter.

Some people have chocolate as comfort food. Some people’s comfort food of choice is a bag of salty potato chips. Others pamper their comfort with ice cream. And I say, to each one his own. My comfort food is simply peanut butter, preferably crunchy.

The thing about peanut butter that is so amazing is it can be used in a variety of ways. I would guess that the list is all but limitless. Hardly a month goes by that I do not discover a new way to enjoy peanut butter.

There, of course, is the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Every thoughtful and loving mother starts her young brood off on nutritious and delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If your mother was quite like my mother, she affectionately trimmed the edges, which made the peanut butter all the more delightful.

Need I mention Peanut Butter Cookies, Peanut Butter Fudge, Southern Peanut Butter Soup with Pepper Jelly, Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Candy, and a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sundae?

Peanut butter can be used for breakfast, lunch and supper. And for all those snacks in between.

Those who know the history of our country will remember that two Presidents of the United States were peanut farmers [Jefferson and Carter]. I am not sure of this, but I think it helped them deal with the nuts at Washington.

Of all the ways to enjoy peanut butter, there is one I prefer above all else. That is simply a nice tablespoon of peanut butter right out of the jar. If a tablespoon is not handy, several fingers will do the trick admirably.

Really, there is no wrong way to enjoy the marvelous taste of peanut butter.

Speaking of comfort food, the Bible has the perfect recipe. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalms 23:4).

God has a marvelous way of taking our attention away from the trials of this world and focus our thoughts on Him.

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Contact him at jamessnyder2@att.net. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.

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Mar
09

The Long Game

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerSometimes as a parent you have to play the long game.

I like expressions, but I realize that I use many of them and don’t actually know what they mean.  Take the idiom, “Easy as Pie.”  Does that mean baking a pie is easy?  Or eating pie is easy?  In this 21st Century I can microwave a frozen pie — that’s easy.  I’m not sure that baking pies from scratch ‘the ol’ fashioned way’ was easy.  Maybe stealing pies from windowsills is easy . . .

Luckily there is Google.  I am currently looking up the expression ‘the long game:’

The Urban Dictionary says the long game is having a long term plan, long term goals, or doing things now that set you up for the future.

That’s what I hoped it meant.  Still don’t know where it originated, but that will be a Google for another time.

I’m using the expression ‘the long game’ with parenting because sometimes we don’t get immediate results from our parenting interventions.  When kids are little there is more of an immediate turnaround on parenting instruction.

 

Me:  Eat your spaghetti-o’s

Kid:  [munch munch]

Easy.

As they get older there is more of a delay in what your kids experience as the payoff of parent instruction.

  • You’re the worst Dad ever!
  • I’m going to do it my way.
  • Dad, let me make my own decisions!
  • I’m going to rent a house and move in with three friends that have no morals.

All the above statements are versions of the same thing.  It’s natural for your kids to want to be independent and find out things for themselves.  This is especially true as they get older.

As a Dad, I can tell my kid not to play in the road.  The immediate consequences are extreme.

As kids get older, I can tell my kids not to try drugs . . .  the mid-term consequences are extreme.

As my teenage kids contemplate moving out into ‘real life’ I can advise them to make a budget, manage their time, to not use credit cards, to not be alone for copious amounts of time with people of the opposite sex (until they’re married) . .

The consequences from these actions might not be immediate or even mid-term . . . but they can have some extreme long-term effects.

A budget is a great example.  Right now, my 18year old son is working at Dairy Queen.  We, mostly my wife, have been stressing to him to build a budget and put money toward the things that are important; like education.

However, he gets paid a pittance at Dairy Queen and doesn’t want to save money.  According to him, he barely has enough money to cover his necessities.

Which, but the way, there is some disagreement regarding the definition of the late-teenage version of ‘necessities.’  Both my wife and I have to frequently restrain ourselves from reminding him about REAL LIFE and bills and mortgage and health insurance.  Right now his necessity is gas for his car and money to frequently go to McDonalds.

So, doing a budget isn’t a high priority to him now.  We stress it for the Long Game; we want him to have a budget in the future when he has real necessities.

 

Future Daughter in Law:  I’m really glad that you learned how to budget from your parents, or else we’d never have money to pay our insurance deductible.

My Son:  Yeah, my Dairy Queen salary really is stretched to the limit.

Ok, that was supposed to be funny.  Dairy Queen.  Salary.  If you’ve ever worked fast-food you might be laughing.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you plan to Dad the Long Game:

Start as early as you can:  How early is too early?

“Look Emily, I got you a cute little budget-shaped pacifier . . . “

Seriously, the things that you want them to know when they are in their 20’s you should start mentioning now.

Here’s a verse from the Bible (Proverbs 22:6) that is comforting to many parents parenting for the Long Game:

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Reinforce Reinforce Reinforce:  I’m sure ‘training up a child’ in the above verse is more than just mentioning it once.  If you want your kids to wait to have sex until marriage, start repeating ‘when you get married’ any opportunity regarding the opposite sex.   Keep repeating the important long-term wisdom you want them to absorb.

The Bible talks about some extreme measures for doing this with the truths in the Bible

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 New International Version (NIV)

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Be patient: – it’s a “Long Game” remember?  This, and the next point are probably the hardest things to do as your kids get older.  You may notice that they are making unwise or even unrighteous decisions as they are becoming independent.  Sure, you can advise them to get back on track, but after that, you have only to wait and . . .

Trust God and your actions.  Every boy and girl can get heady and throw out ALL of our instruction, wisdom and righteousness.  But, through God’s mercy there are times where our training kicks in, or our conscience reminds us of things our Dads taught us, and it keeps kids from screwing up . . . or screwing up so badly.

We just need to do our part for the long game, then, when it’s out of our control, we watch the game play out.  Come to think of it now, clearly this analogy of the Long Game is related to the game of Monopoly.  Have you ever really finished a game of Monopoly? – Especially before EVERYONE got in a fight.  So much like raising kids . . . .

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Dec
28

The Timbuktu Question

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Today’s blog article is for exhorting and empowering us dads and thereby setting an example for health and balance for our kids.

I’m going to use another one of the Great Counseling Analogies — I should do a series (three-armed man, Christmas Bicycle, the Playground, . . – actually I did one on the Playground — it was great and you can read it here http://cwahm.com/2016/articles/series-interruption-for-the-playground/ )

 The analogy involves Timbuktu; a city in Mali . . . which is a country . . . um, in Africa.  I’m not so good at geography — especially geography for different continents.  Which is the point:  Timbuktu used to be the city people would mention when they were talking about somewhere very remote on the ‘other side of the world.’*

 Plus, Timbuktu (Tim – Buck–Too) is fun to say.

 Timbuktu, Timbuktu, Timbuktu.

 But the idea of the analogy is that you consider the question: What you would do if you were starting over with a new life after moving to Timbuktu – the farthest reaches of the world where no one would know you?.

 My wife typically ruins analogies at this early point by asking too many detail questions.  “Why would I move to Timbuktu?”  “Do you get there by boat or did I fly?”

 She’s like that.  The point is – you are starting over.

  • No one would know you there
  • You wouldn’t have easy access to all your old habits
  • You’d have to focus on the basics to start over
  • All your old social connections would be gone

 . . .  You could start fresh

What would you do?

Many people have a desire to make a change, but they think that their current circumstances hold them down; their habits, their job, their feelings, their responsibilities are hurdles to their goals and desires.  A transfer to Timbuktu would thrust you out of all your current excuses for life change.  You may not be able to pick up and move to Timbuktu, but you can give your mind a fresh perspective by thinking this way.

Ask yourself some related questions:

  • If I had to form all new friendships, what would be important to me?  Are these attributes reflected in the friends I have now?

  • What disciplines would I like to include in my life if life didn’t get in the way?  How could I eliminate commitments so that life doesn’t get in the way?

  • I don’t really need much to survive, what could I cut out of my life to make it simpler?

  • What’s my schedule like in Timbuktu – do I sleep in every day or work long hours?

When you start to answer these questions, you can get a new perspective on your current life-state.  Thinking and considering the Timbuktu question is the first step.  Then you need to take action.

In all honesty, having to move to Timbuktu would be easy.  You’d HAVE to do all the things that change your life.  You’d be FORCED, by external circumstances, to make changes.

But, if you’re like me, you don’t like to be forced.  It’s also really hard to imagine how a move to Timbuktu would even be feasible in ‘real life:’

Boss:  Well, we are opening up our Mali office next month and we want you to helm the initiative of the company there.  So pack your bags, you’re moving to Timbuktu!

Rather than wait around for an external stimulus to galvanize you into some Timbuktu changes, you’ll have to do it yourself.

One option is to create an external circumstance of sorts.  You can create a change event.  Pick a date on the calendar and designate it as ‘Timbuktu Day” – the day you make changes.  I always encourage people to plan for a Timbuktu Day in many of the same ways they’d plan for a trip to Mali; tell your friends that you are having a life change, cut out all the unnecessary commitments and downsize stuff you own.  Maybe have a ‘going away’ party to start a new life.

By the way, a Timbuktu Day is a great time to incorporate some of those disciplines that are hard to maintain with a hectic life:  meditate, take some margin, enjoy a Sabbath, and take some of the extra time to read the Bible.

Joshua 1:8

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

I didn’t add that “prosperous and successful” part – that’s 100% Bible

Plan your Timbuktu Day with enough time to start planning for the trip.  Try some new schedules and disciplines now.  And, let me know if you do Timbuktu – either as a real, physical move to Mali (you would be one of my first Dads to actually do it), or as a life change in your current location.

  _________________

Very geeky addendum that I couldn’t resist because of the recent Star Wars movie:  Luke Skywalker needed the Timbuktu Question.  He needed a good reason to be assertive to his Aunt/Uncle and stop whining about Tosche Station and go join the Rebel Alliance.  Don’t wait for a bounty hunter to roast your relatives before following your dreams!

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Nov
04

Life Long Learnin’

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerSo, I’m old now.

And I’ve been trying to do the fitness thing and stave off ‘feeeeeling’ old.  I get up in the morning and do yoga (what could also be considered ‘stretching’) and I try to go to the gym several times a week.

 In the past I’ve also tried jogging periodically.  However jogging poses two major problems:

#1:  I hate running.  Ok, yes, so I was a track athlete in High School.  But that was sprinting.  Sprinting is fun and has the real-life application of keeping you safe from alien abduction.  Long distance running or fitness jogging is an extreme method of torture.

#2:  I’ll be jogging along and hating jogging along.  I’m nearing the point where I’m thinking, “I’m just going to walk for a bit” and then suddenly, my high school track coach, Mr. Lightfoot, is standing up ahead along the road with a clipboard in hand.  He emphatically throws it on the ground and shouts, “Dag-gonnit Washburn, FINISH THE RACE!”

 And of course I dig deep and finish jogging at a dead sprint.

(then I’m in a great deal of pain for several days and vow to never run again . . . until the next time).

 So jogging for health isn’t my thing — Sorry Mr. Lightfoot.

 But,

 Mr. Lightfoot also was the High School weightlifting coach.  (and the Senior Social Studies Teacher  . . . which actually is another unrelated story of how he convinced the whole class the Christopher Columbus’ middle name was “Rosco” . . but I digress)

Largely because of his inspiration, I’d get up at 5:30 am to go to lift weights.  In Sr. year, I actually took ‘Bodybuilding’ as an elective.

 And That.  That stuck with me much better than trying to run along backroads.  Actually if you look at it either way, whether he is yelling at me in my pain induced visions while jogging or in the inspiration to hit the gym several times a week, the impact that Mr. Lightfoot made on me for lifelong fitness, has been . . . lifelong.

 I currently have two teenage boys that used to come with me to the gym on a regular basis.  They surpassed my abilities a long time ago (remember I said that I am old), so they’d rather go separately from me.  But they still go.  I’m hoping they continue going lifelong.

There are many disciplines that dads could pass on to hopefully achieve ‘lifelong’ status for our kids.  I hear many parents putting their kids into sports, or piano lessons, or dance — and none of those are inherently bad.

 But there are some disciplines and skills that need to be introduced toward them becoming activities your kids choose for doing their whole life.

 Like

 Bible reading:  Seriously, this is an activity that is more important even than fitness or knowing chess.  Many people come to me each month and make the comment, “I wish God would talk to me.”

Umm.  He did.

Teach your kids to read the Bible on a REGULAR basis.  For lifelong habit of reading the Bible, you can’t just know it’s important — adults that read the Bible do it every day or the same day every week.  Make Bible Reading Lifelong (MBRL is my election slogan).

 Praying: is a little easier to create a lifelong habit.  Pray with your kids before bed, before meals, and before anything important.

The other day my youngest son lost his wallet at the movie theatre.  We looked, visited, and called periodically for a week.  I thought it was long gone.

We were in the area and he asked if we could swing by the theatre again and see if they found it.  We did again.  The manager went away to a back room to check ‘lost-and-found;’ again.

As we were waiting, my son spontaneously started praying.  “Jesus, please let him find my wallet.”

The manager came back.  Not only did he have the wallet, but he said, “I checked the lost and found again and it wasn’t there.  But then, I just decided to check and see if someone put it on one of the storeroom shelves and it was there.” Read More→

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Sep
23

It’s Hard for Me to Conceal a Giggle

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerThroughout life, I have discovered many challenges. Some I have handled fairly well and others have handled me pretty badly.

Smile Post-itThat is what makes life so interesting. Every day there is a challenge to face and every day there is a victory to win.

Recently, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary. I would not be truthful if I did not admit that those 48 years have been rather challenging. Not so much in a negative way, but each challenge carried with it a life lesson.

At the end of these 48 years, I must confess my wife knows more about me then I know about myself, or her for that matter. How she has come to these conclusions, I do not know.

But, to be honest I do not know very much about myself compared to what she knows.

Not wasting those 48 years, I never contradict my wife on anything. Even, if I think she may be wrong about something.

There are spouses that try to correct their spouse when talking to other people. I am so thankful that while I am speaking to someone my wife will correct me so the person I am talking to has the facts.

After all, she knows more about me and my experiences than I do. I am not contesting that one iota. Why should I?

The biggest secret to a successful marriage is going along rather than being confrontational. It does not matter to me if she corrects me; I’ve come to appreciate that.

After all, I get so many things wrong these days. I cannot remember birthdays, anniversaries or special occasions. It’s not because I’m getting older because when I was younger, I had the same problem.

If I were not married, I probably would not remember my own birthday.

Thinking about this the other day a thought danced into my mind. If I wanted to be right all the time, why in the world did I get married? A married couple is to work together and it seems that we have the ideal connection in this regard.

I remember when I wore a younger man’s suit; I nonchalantly corrected my wife about a certain thing that happened when she got the day of the week wrong.

“Don’t you remember, Honey,” I interrupted her, “it was on a Wednesday not a Thursday.”

She gave me one of “those looks” and said, “Maybe it was a Thursday.”

That look alone was enough to graduate me from being the corrector of her conversation to being the quiet agreeable guy. Through the years, I discovered being agreeable is a great deal of blessings and I enjoyed each one of those blessings.

One thing I have a real difficulty and that is, not giggling.

I may be affected with giggle-itis, which is far as I know has no cure. Of course, when I start giggling it is very difficult for me to stop.

The only temporary cure I have found is when I start to giggle, I take a deep breath and then think of broccoli. If anything sobers me up and even makes me a little bit angry it is this vegetable. Read More→

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Sep
16

Dad the Fashion Guru

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerI’m taking a total departure from some of my usual topics to focus on something that is a big ingredient in being an interactive Dad AND something that has surprisingly become ‘close to my heart.’

Being a fashion Guru.

First of all, to clarify:  I’m colorblind.  So if I can enter the fashion realm as a Dad, then you DEFINITELY can.  I’m not so good at matching clothes.  In fact, when I was in college dating this hot girl that ended up becoming my wife; I’d put on some clothes and ask my roommates if I was matching.

“Yup.”

“Yeah, you look great.”

“Lookin’ good.”

 . . . so you can probably imagine my lack of surprise when I’d meetup with my girlfriend and she’d say, “Good God, what are you wearing?!  That doesn’t match at all.”

My roommates didn’t often have ‘my back’ in the fashion department.

But after I had kids, and after those kids started caring about what they wore . . . I needed to connect with them with my limited fashion abilities.

When the boys were younger, they’d throw on anything that was available and comfortable, which I’d still advocate as some of the main goals of fashion.  They’d make any strange combination of outfits ‘cool’ because they had the confidence of not caring.  But, as they grew older, they started caring.  So they wanted to ‘match’ and ‘wear shoes’ (we lived in Florida), and buy brand names.

I didn’t want to be one of those ‘fuddy-duddy’ Dads, that didn’t understand style or the fashion dynamics of kids, because how you look is a BIG DEAL to preteens/teens.   To connect with them, I had to learn fashion.

Below is a list of things that helped me and things I tried.  There were failures of course; these are the wins that I can share on this topic.  What about you?  You can probably see color and have some good ideas to share as well.  Drop me an e-mail or comment.

Oh, and before I do the list.  You’re probably wondering what the Biblical or Spiritual tie-in is for anything regarding fashion.  Usually I have a quick Bible answer for questions, even if it’s a corny Bible joke, but in this case I had to do some research.

[Brad surfs the net with his theology hat on]

 . . .  well, actually the Bible doesn’t have a lot of positive to say about adornment or clothes or looks being important.  In fact, there is a lot of the opposite.  BUT, in doing the research I discovered that the negative part about fashion, adornment, and looks, is that they shouldn’t become a focus to detract you from what’s really important.

So, don’t let that happen.  Keep your focus on what’s important in life.

I did find a plethora (a.k.a. ‘a bunch’) of information about how much God cares about creating beauty and aesthetics on the Earth.  It seems like God is the ultimate fashion designer.  God even made the first clothes (read Genesis) out of leaves – I’ve never seen that done, even on Project Runway.  Here is an example of how much attention God gives to creating beauty upon the Earth . . . almost like tailoring the best outfits for us.

Psalm 104

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Lord my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent
    and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
. . .

He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.
You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.

I also found some pretty good articles related to the God/Fashion topic:

https://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/jesus-christ-fashion-icon.aspx

https://lifeloveandgod.com/god/is-it-okay-to-love-fashion/

Ok, now back to the list of practical Dad fashion tips.  Don’t forget to e-mail me or comment with your own:

Retro is always good:  You grew up in an era that will cycle into being ‘cool’ at some point.  I grew up in the 80’s and Stranger ThingsDark, and popular sitcoms highlight some of the fashion that is now becoming popular again.  Thank God that some things never came back in style as far as hairstyles like the mullet or the 5ft-tall Aquanet tower of hair that some of my female friends had.  But clothes; clothes come back to popularity.  Fashion from 10 years in the past can always be used as a retro fashion statement.

Use the terms:  Find out what joggers are.  And jeggers.  And jorgers.—ok, I made that last one up.  But find out what your kids are calling rolling their jeans legs, or what a ‘snapback’ is, or how Gucci plays a role in fashion.  Also, learn how to pronounce ‘Gucci’ correctly.

Shape is important.  Boys are shooting for the overall shape of a ‘T’ and girls are trying to look like the general shape of a number ‘8.’  So, give any feedback or insight on the clothes that do well with bringing out your kids’ qualities. Read More→

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Sep
02

The Question with a Question

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questionBrad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerAfter many long days the kid has climbed to the top of the mountain to reach the mystic guru of all knowledge:  The Dad.

The kid has journeyed past the Forest of Despair, through the Pits of Insecurity, and has taken the arduous climb over the Boulders of Persistence.  All to reach the top, and ask the question; the question that burns most deeply in the souls of all children:

“How do I make blueberry muffins?”

The great sage of all time, The Dad, breaks his gaze away from contemplating the cosmos, and sagely answers,

“How would you find that information?”

His deep curiosity being satisfied, the kid begins the long journey back down to civilization with new insight . . . .

______

There are many reasons that kids ask questions.  When they are young, they are curious about EVERYTHING and there is an endless stream of fact gathering questions.  How does a toaster work?  Why do people get haircuts?  Etc. etc.

As kids get older, most of their questions are about the rules of society and your authority:  Why do police give people tickets?  Why do I have to go to bed?  Etc. etc.

But there comes a time (usually around middle school age) where the questions are both practical fact gathering questions AND questions about society and values.  They are questions that beg for answers that are both useful and important.  . . . and that’s exactly why we shouldn’t answer them.

Sure, we definitely want to pass on knowledge and teach values, and most Dads are an endless storehouse of useful facts – these are the things that Dads do best.  But, one of our important jobs as kids get older is to:

Help kids think for themselves.

Which, to put in the vernacular:  really sucks.  Our offspring finally get old enough to be curious about the things that we actually know, and it’s largely our job the help them find the answers themselves.  Urgh.

If you think about it.  We don’t want to train our kids to come running to us throughout their adult life to answer questions.

Did Napoleon ever visit the United States?

Where can I buy a snow blower?

How do you make blueberry muffins?

What CAN you do when you get asked a question?

Turn it back to them.  Answer their question . . . get this:  with. a. question.  It’s genius in simplicity.  Usually a “How would you find that out?” is enough to both frustrate them and put them on the path to research so that they can find out all the knowledge in the universe.  They will someday be the gurus sitting on the mountain full of knowledge – knowledge that they have gained themselves.

Here’s how it works.  When you son/daughter is getting older and has access to their own reason, and access to the library, and access to Google, and access to the Bible; you ask a question that puts them on the path to pursue their own answers. Read More→

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Aug
26

Whatever Happened to the Simple Things in Life?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerI’m not a very complicated person. I like simple things; things nice and easy. Occasionally I will do a crossword puzzle, but beside that, I enjoy the simple life.

On the other side, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is very complicated. Just when I have everything figured out, I find another side of her that I did not know was there.

I suppose that is what married life is all about; year-by-year discovering new aspects of your spouse.

I am very simple minded when it comes to going out to eat.

When we go to a restaurant, for example, I’m very simple in what I order. Most of the time I order the same thing because I enjoy what I am eating at the time.

My wife is not quite like that. Ordering her supper is quite a complicated thing. It takes several minutes to go through the menu and then several minutes to think about what she wants to eat.

Me, I tell the waitress, “I’ll have a cheeseburger, French fries and a Diet Coke.” And that’s that.

“You had that,” my wife will say, “yesterday. Why don’t you pick something different for tonight?”

I remember one time I made a drastic mistake which I will never repeat. I said to my wife, “Okay, why don’t you choose my supper for tonight?”

Boy, did she have a time ordering for me. I do not even know what she ordered, but it was a lot. I saw more on my plate than I could possibly eat. Some things on my plate I did not know exactly what they were. I was very careful that none of it resembled broccoli.

I have not made that mistake ever again. However, she often asks me, “Would you like me to choose your supper for tonight?”

Since that time, I have reverted to the simple things, especially when it comes to eating out at a restaurant.

Once I had to buy some new shirts along with some new ties. For some reason I went shopping by myself, which in itself is good.

When I came home that night from my shopping spree, my wife looked at all the shirts and ties I bought.

“You bought these shirts?”

She looked at the shirts and then at me with both hands on her hips and said, “These shirts are the same shirts you have in your closet. Why didn’t you get something different?”

My assumption is, a shirt is a shirt and if I am going to get a new shirt, I should get a new shirt that replaces the old shirt. Simple!

In my simple way of life, I only wear white shirts. I can buy these shirts and not even have to think about what I am buying. A shirt is a shirt and what is wrong with white?

The next time my wife took me shopping. It was the worst shopping experience I have ever had.

We went to the men’s clothing store and then the simplicity of life ended in a crash. My wife spent all afternoon looking at all kinds of shirts in all kinds of colors and then trying to find ties that would match. I did not know so many colors existed in the world. I do not even think the rainbow has as many colors.

My idea is that a white shirt never draws attention. A shirt of any color always draws attention to itself. I like to slip in and slip out without notice; it is the simple way of doing things.

When it comes to work, I am rather simple. I start a task and keep at it and to its finished, then I move on to the next task. I do not like to confuse things and so I do everything simply.

My wife is not like that. She is one of those “Multitaskers” that you hear about.

I was watching on television a man juggling four balls in the air at the same time. In the middle of his act, I stopped, looked at my wife and said, “That’s you. You have too many balls in the air.”

It is true. She can juggle four tasks at the same time and get them all done perfectly.

Don’t get me wrong here. I respect and can appreciate that kind of work ethic. I cheer her on and encourage her. There’s only one small problem.

Because my wife is a Multitasker, she expects the person who said, “I do,” at the wedding altar to have the same work ethic. I’ve tried to explain this, but by the time I finished explaining it, she is already on to the next topic. I cannot possibly keep up.

Even when we take a few vacation days, she cannot sit still and enjoy the simple life.

She does more on a two-day vacation spree than I do all year long. I cannot keep up with her. I discovered if I let her do “her thing,” I will have the opportunity to do “my thing,” which is just enjoying the simple things of life. Read More→

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Aug
12

And Then the Thunder Roared

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerlight through cloudsIn our house, thunder has a variety of meanings. Some not as good as others, but that is another story. Either way, I am not a fan of thunder.

Recently, some heavy thunder visited our area along with rain and lightning. I was beginning to understand how Noah felt during his first night in that Ark. Some of the thunder was so loud it seemed like it was inside our house.

Thankfully, I lost my heebie-jeebies a long time ago.

All week long the rain came and with the rain was lightning and of course, thunder. What in the world would a rainstorm be without thunder?

One night the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I decided to stay inside and enjoy listening to the thunder on the outside. Nothing is more cozy than listening to it rain and thunder while drinking a nice hot cup of coffee. It is even better when an Apple fritter comes with that coffee, but that would create a different kind of thunder on the inside.

I must point out during this time, young people were breaking into cars, rummaging through them and stealing whatever they could find. Even locked cars were broken into and I wished I knew how they did that. I have locked myself out of my car several times. If only I had the skills of a car thief, I would not worry so much nor call AAA.

I had my vehicle broken into once and they rummaged all through it. Unfortunately, for them, I had nothing of value to steal, except several Bibles and a dozen gospel tracts. Not one of my Bibles or one of my tracts was stolen. All that work and they found nothing to steal. I had considered putting an offering plate on my seat with a sign that said, “Your tithe goes here.”

When it comes to robbing vehicles, I have no experience. If I were going to rob a car the best time to do it is doing a heavy thunderstorm when nobody wants to come outside.

If I was going to invest time in stealing, which I am not, I would not focus on cars, especially in my neighborhood. People keep the dumbest things in cars.

While listening to the storm, it suddenly got quiet. Both my wife and I took a deep breath and she said, “I think the storm’s over. I’m going to go out and check my car.”

I really never gave it much thought. I went back to the book I was reading and then I heard it. The thunder roared again like I have never heard it roar before. I was waiting for the lightning to flash, but again the thunder roared. Read More→

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Aug
05

Messed Up is Part of the Plan

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerOne of the hats I wear — other than Dad, or Writer Extraordinaire; is Pastor. I am the Life Care (aka ‘Counseling’) Pastor at a mega church in West Virginia.

I usually keep a low Pastor profile; I don’t travel in a bubble-mobile, wear robes, or douse anyone with holy water (exception: vampires), but periodically I get tagged to do something pastorly — like preach. One of those times is coming up, so of course I chose a topic that fits well with Doing the Dad Thing.

I’ll probably start out by telling the congregation a little bit about myself, especially since I’m an introvert and there are about 5000 people that attend the church. Most people don’t know who I am, instead they wonder, ‘who’s that bald guy with a name tag?’

But you, faithful readers, know me pretty well already. You know that I’m a geek and like humor. You know that I have been a work-at-home-dad because my wife has an auto-immune disease. You already know that my goal is that Dads should stick together and collaborate to be great parents and husbands.

I usually am sitting in the audience during the sermon, so I understand the attractiveness to keep it simple (aka ‘short’) so that:

  • We don’t get bored
  • We make it home in time for lunch

So I am going to take that perspective to heart, even with this blog. I have a sermon with only 1 point:

Messed Up is Part of the Plan

I’ll even probably outline the whole sermon so that everyone knows what to expect:

Visit the Lost Son

Memes

Get Metaphysical 

Shameless Plug will also be thrown in

Maybe a fist bump to end

Though every part of the Bible is important, I end up using the Parable (story) of the Lost Son quite a bit, especially regarding parenting.

I’ve tried to be transparent in some of my articles, that I’m not always the best Dad. I make mistakes. Even when my two boys were littler and I felt like I had a pretty good dad system; I was still making mistakes. When we moved from Florida to West Virginia the circumstances with being a Dad became even more difficult. My boys are both now teenagers. Not just teenagers, but they are thoseteenagers that parents talk about dreading — teenagers that have their own opinion, and that try and argue, and that know everything, and that don’t know what they want for their imminent future, and that need a job, but don’t want to work anywhere . . . those teenagers.

Plus when we moved to West Virginia it became apparent that the State Motto is: Drugs.

Seriously though, although any place in the world can have a drug problem, West Virginia is definitely fighting for top spot. We quickly discovered that at public school in WV, you can obtain practically any drug you can imagine.

So being a great dad got considerably difficult. My failure rate of parenting began to climb drastically in the last year or so.

Which brings me to the Parable of the Lost (or Prodigal) son. Jesus told this short story to the people:

Luke 15:11-14

11 “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.

 

Probably worth interrupting this narrative to point out a very important part of this story.  Not only is this a good short story that really could have happened in ‘real life,’ but it is also a ‘metaphor.’  The father in this story represents THE father.  God.  If the Father of all creation could have a son that made mistakes, a son that ‘messed up,’ then really, as a Dad myself, is it any surprise that my teenagers struggle?  If the greatest Dad in the universe, God, has a kid that becomes impatient, makes horrible decisions, wastes, sins, leaves, — all those things, then it shouldn’t be a mystery that our kids are going to do things like this.

God eagerly watches for us and loves us, and is ready for us to turn around and come back.  We need to be like that kind of parent.  “Messed up” is going to happen (it’s part of the plan), but there is total forgiveness and restoration when you turn to trust Him.

Back to the story . . .

 

Luke 15:15 – 24

15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

I’m probably going to utilize some memes at this point in my sermon. Everyone loves memes. Lately I’ve been seeing some great parenting ones.

[meme slides play – much to everyone’s enjoyment]

But as great as memes are, we need to examine this story a little deeper, because not only is it a metaphor; it’s a metaphor with another metaphor — how metaphysical!

The Father is God, and he represents how God loves His child and accepts him with open-arms redemption.

But the son in this story also represents people that mess up by being impetuous, and leaving, and sin, and disrespect, and bad decisions . . . yes, that’s right: Us.

It’s a metaphor for me and for you as we relate to God as our heavenly father. We mess up and do all these things; sometimes even daily.

So, wait a minute Brad — I get it. We are all messed up. Our kids are messed up and make poor decisions and we should be Godly parents. AND we adults are messed up and make poor decisions too. Greatest sermon ever so far.

What are we supposed to do with this? Read More→

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