Everyone Grab a Kitty

Rachel loves her kittens and works hard taking care of them. I found an old blog she wrote from 2009 pleading with the reader to vote in her favor for a kitten rescue. Oh, my, but the pictures were adorable. It took her three more years to convince the rest of her reluctant family (okay parents) to bring a cat into the home. I have to say Rachel definitely lives out the verse Proverbs 12:10a; “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal…”

Her one weakness?


I hate to say this on a public forum, but Rachel is not a good kitty sharer. Yep, she’s a little over protective and watchful of the two felines who reside in our home.

Thankfully she knows how to share with those who prove themselves worthy.

Jenny loves these kittens ALMOST as much as Rachel does.

Jenny (and her sister Sarah) were with us when we picked out Miri and Misty so it’s only fitting that Jenny has “kitty rights.”

Do kittens have aunts?


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Push-up Prophet

A few days ago, I wrote a quick blog about Daniel and his passion for Diamond Push-ups. Who knew that in a few short days, these words would come home to haunt me?

It all started with a phone message from our AWANA Commander.

“Hey, Tim, I’m in Anchorage. You’re on your own,” Jimmy chortled remorselessly into my voice mailbox.

This is the kind of leadership and support I get from our fearless Commander. Other, more fortunate AWANA T&T Directors probably enjoy thoughtful mentoring and compassionate direction from their Commanders, but mine jets off to boondoggle in Alaska at a moment’s notice, leaving me to flounder alone.*

It was Crazy Hat Week at AWANA. Here David showcases his Spartan Mystery Knight look.

And flounder I did. I forgot to open the Cubby room, and didn’t turn on their heat until almost too late. I didn’t pray with the other workers, and I barely remembered to pick flag-bearers for the Assembly, which I convened a full minute late. I stumbled over the words in the pledge to the AWANA flag, but finally we arrived at the ‘Singing of the AWANA Song’, my favorite part of the Assembly.

Nate and Josh cut a dashing figure in their Crazy Hats.

When I was in the Army, I discovered that I had a loud voice, especially when lifted in song. Maybe it was a legacy from playing the trumpet for four years in Junior High (no, I didn’t spend four years in Junior High, it was only mostly over my Junior High period), or perhaps it was a gifting from God, knowing that I was destined to be the father of five children — but for whatever reason, I can be very loud. I like to think that I am setting a good example by putting my heart into singing, especially at church. (Except that we never sing the hymn about the ‘C-130′s, rolling down the strip’. I keep waiting for it, but our worship pastor doesn’t seem able to work it in.)

And so, when I sing the AWANA song, I try to drown out all the other kids and leaders (and I often nearly succeed). This week, I challenged them to a sing-off: “If you can sing louder than me, I’ll do pushups, otherwise, you will.” I chose Nate (who had always before been trustworthy) to be the judge.

The kids blew me out of the water. I could barely hear myself sing — even standing on tiptoe, bellowing into Nate’s ear, I think the kids were still louder.

As it turned out, Nate was immune to my crafty bribery attempt, and insisted that the kids "were just a little bit louder" than I was.

So I did pushups. In retrospect, maybe I should have done a few with Daniel in the past couple of weeks — it was embarrassingly difficult for me to pump out ten measly pushups.

My drill sergeant would not have been proud, this day.

I must be getting old. Maybe next week, I will challenge them one team at a time. I’ll bet I can drown out that sissy green team any day of the week.

Whatever happens, it has to be better than getting a pie in the face.


* The remarks about my AWANA Commander are pretty much all fabrications. Jimmy is actually a very godly and conscientious man, who does his best to rein me in and to minister to my leaders in spite of my abrasive personality. He travels to Alaska because he has to, and it is no boondoggle. It was just more fun to malign him.

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An Inadvertent Lock-In

When I was a bit younger, churches used to have ‘Lock-In’ events for their youth groups. Kids would show up on a Friday night and at some point the youth leaders would lock all the doors, trapping everyone inside. Kids would stay up all night playing games and talking and generally having the run of the church.

The sleeping bags and pillows were just for show, to confuse the parents. Nobody actually used them, of course.

Now that I’m sort of a grown-up, I wonder about the wisdom of such events, even back in that day. As our culture has turned away from any semblance of personal morality, I suspect such events would require a much higher number of chaperones, or maybe a very small church and a very small youth group.

Today, we had a different sort of a lock-in. Kathy’s friend Nancy came to visit, and soon after her arrival, we discovered that the front door wouldn’t open. Apparently the lock mechanism in our recently-changed front door lock became jammed, and the bolt would no longer retract. The first thing that crossed my mind was to check out Rhys from Strongholdlocksmith for an emergency locksmith expert to get here.
Always eager to show off my skills as a handyman, I leaped into action. “Get me a screwdriver thingy,” I told Daniel. “Not a minus, but one with a plus.” My kids never seem to know the proper names of the tools. Quick as a jiffy, I had the doorknob off. “Go catch the other half of the door knob,” I told Sarah.

But at this point, my ingenuity failed me. Even with the doorknob off, the bolt would still not retract. It was at this point that Nancy’s true duplicity was revealed. She had engineered this whole situation just to give her husband a chance to show off. Before I knew it, his van was in the driveway.

"Now, see, Tim, this thing here is called a Phillips screwdriver."

Dave rang the doorbell, cruelly underscoring the fact that we were trapped inside. “Come in,” we caroled helplessly. After a few dozen doorbell rings, he relented, and came around to the back door. In less time than it takes me to write this paragraph, he had the door open, and the lock mechanism repaired, using only a common toothpick. My wife’s friends are always showing off their husbands like that — it is a nauseating parade of wisdom, competence, charm and good looks.

After fixing the door, Dave offered to make a few adjustments to my personality, but he didn't have the right tools.

Grinding my teeth in rage, I thanked Dave as graciously as I could, and went back to work. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t work in the city more often …


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Diamond Pushups

Some two- or three-hundred years ago (or so it seems) I served as an enlisted man in the Army. Through a series of foolish mistakes, I had forfeited my ROTC scholarship, and joining the Army as a PFC (E-3, Private First Class) seemed the best of my options. God used it to make a man of me (or at least changed me enough so that I could play one on TV) and I eventually went back to college older, wiser, and considerably more physically-fit.

Good military pushup posture means keeping your face forward and your back straight.

I’ll never forget the day in Basic Training when our drill sergeants decided to teach us the joys of muscle fatigue. First, they had us do diamond pushups with our feet on tables. Most of us could only do a few, and soon we were doing diamond pushups with our feet on the benches, and finally on the ground. Then we switched to regular pushups, and eventually ‘girl pushups’ (with knees touching the ground). After an hour of this, we were laying on our faces in the dust, unable to do even a single ‘girl pushup’. When they shouted for us to stand, we had to roll over onto our backs and sit up from that position, because our arms were so weak and trembly.

A diamond pushup works the triceps and involves making a diamond with the thumbs and index fingers.

This year Daniel has begun to work seriously on physical strength. He lifts weights at the YMCA, and participates in Physical Training (PT) in ROTC. Lately, he has been doing diamond pushups, which make me smile nostalgically. He’s getting pretty good at them — soon he’ll be able to pick Joshua up, when they wrestle. It’ll be a while, yet, before he can lift me, though.

Even at the point of muscle fatigue, Daniel maintained his diamond.


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Eggs and the Navy

Today, Joshua received a call from a Navy Lieutenant (an O-3, equivalent to an Army Captain). “So, we haven’t heard from you about the four-year Navy ROTC scholarship we offered to you. Will you be accepting it, or should we offer it to someone else?”

In recent days, Joshua’s sense of God’s purpose for his college years has solidified into a near-certainty: it seems evident that the full-ride scholarship at Union University is the best path being offered. Joshua really likes the school, admires the faculty, is sold on the honors program, and even found a good church (while visiting last month). Best of all, his cousin Rebecca attends Union — the two of them really seem to enjoy each other.

So Joshua thanked the Lieutenant, and respectfully declined the scholarship the Navy had offered. It is odd, I think, to see a door close that was once hoped-for so passionately. I remember Joshua’s jubilation at receiving the scholarship, and the relief we all felt, knowing that there was at least one way for him to attend college. Now we hope that it will be the source of jubilation for another deserving young man.

Our hopes for a culinary scholarship were dashed early-on, although Joshua can cook one dish: scrambled eggs.

There is a powerful sense of belonging that military service provides, and for many years, we have all assumed that Joshua would pursue military service in exchange for college funding. His enjoyment of his Junior ROTC unit during High School, his personality, and his physical bearing have all contributed to that assumption. Yet now that Union has offered an academic, full-ride scholarship, ROTC is no longer necessary to underwrite Joshua’s college education.

It will be interesting to see what he does. Union has a cross-town relationship with another nearby ROTC detachment, and it might be rewarding for Joshua to join the unit. I worry that he might bite off more than he can chew, with the Honors program, maybe some difficult Physics classes, and the minimum 3.25 GPA requirement that comes with his scholarship.

We had a nice discussion about it today — I often feel very honored when Joshua talks with me about the big decisions in his life. As we agreed last night, it isn’t all about Joshua, but rather about God. How will God be most glorified?

The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. — Proverbs 23:24


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