Category Archives: Family

My Sons, the Comedians

For one reason or another, we like to laugh a lot in our family. Kathy and I have always keenly enjoyed each other’s sense of humor, and we’ve tried to incorporate a love for laughter into our children.

It may be that we have succeeded a little too well.

On Monday, I made some hard-boiled eggs in Kathy’s swanky Insta-Pot. We generally mark the eggs with a Sharpie so that people don’t try to scramble them for breakfast. Sometimes, if Kathy is feeling particularly cheerful, she’ll put little hearts on them, or even write messages like “I love Tim” on a few of the eggs. This can be a bit disconcerting for guests, so we try to pre-shell the eggs if we offer them in a salad to lunch visitors.

But Kathy was busy working on her computer, so she asked David to mark the eggs. It is possible that he resented the job — a fact I discovered the next day when I opened my lunch.

I'm not sure which is worse, that I ate the egg without hesitation, or that I was vaguely proud that my homeschooled child could spell 'poisoned' correctly.

I’m not sure which is worse, that I ate the egg without hesitation, or that I was vaguely proud that my home-schooled child could spell ‘poisoned’ correctly.

Recently, Daniel’s computer video card died. For several days, the computer would not display anything at all, until we figured out how to revert to the integrated video card on the motherboard. Since Daniel mostly uses his computer to play high-graphics video games, you can imagine how distressed he was.

Unbeknownst to Daniel, I recently ordered two new computers for my parents, but had them delivered to my house so I could install some additional hardware and software. Dan happened to be home when the computers were delivered, and he quickly made some alterations to the labels on the packages. Kathy sent me this sequence of pictures at work, to let me know my packages had been delivered, and were greatly appreciated:

Daniel spots the packages by the front door ...

Daniel spots the packages by the front door …

His heart leaps in hope ...

His heart leaps in hope …

Daniel can't believe his eyes, when he reads the address label ...

Daniel can’t believe his eyes, when he reads the address label …

A close-up of the professionally-printed address label ...

A close-up of the professionally-printed address label …

I’d like to think that God is honored by the fun that we have in our house … that the joy we take in each other brings joy to His heart as well. I guess we’ll find out in Heaven, if Jesus plays practical jokes — He’s had more than 2000 years to be working on some of them. If that doesn’t worry you at least a little, then you have no imagination …


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Christmas 2016

We had such a lovely Christmas this year – very relaxed and full of family and friends. Our only sadness was not having Joshua and Kelsie here for any of the holidays. This post if especially for them – so they can see some of our Christmas pictures and feel a part of our December 2016.

Tradition - Christmas Eve picture at church.

Tradition – Christmas Eve picture at church.

I sent several boxes of Advent goodies to Tennessee in November and couldn’t resist hanging Joshua and Kelsie’s stockings on the mantle. They were with us in spirit!!

Stocking hung by the fire with care.

Stocking hung by the fire with care.

Daniel spent part of December working for family friends in Idaho. Upon returning home, he quickly resumed his job at Chick-Fil-A. We’re proud of him for working hard to earn tuition money for another semester at Calvary Chapel Bible College. Rachel’s roommate got married on the 17th (Hooray Kaylee and Matthew!!!) and another friend on the 18th, so Rachel wasn’t able to fly home from Tennessee until the 19th of December. So late!!! Thankfully we have her for almost the entire month of January as she’s not taking any classes during Jan Term this year.

Christmas breakfast

Christmas breakfast

Christmas fell on a Sunday this year. We celebrated with our church family on Christmas Eve and hosted Tim’s parents as well as his nephew (and family) on Christmas Day. Such a sweet time. Of course, as always, our favorite start to the holiday season is when Tim is off work and declares Holiday Hours!! Time to watch movies, sleep in, open presents, relax, and play games!!!

Family Time!!

Christmas Day Dinner with the Edgrens!!

On the Monday after Christmas, we were able to celebrate with more of Tim’s family. His favorite (okay, only) brother came to town with his beautiful wife and two children (visiting from Tennessee). We missed Joshua and Kelsie keenly but were thrilled to have some time with the PMGE’s.

Quick family photo

Quick family photo

And we all loved having Tim P join us for some of our family time. He and Rachel spend as much time together as they can. Long distance (from Union University in Tennessee to University of Washington in Seattle) relationships are hard.

We had 3 Tims together for lunch.

We had 3 Tims together for lunch.

Right in between Christmas and New Year’s we hosted a lovely dinner with the Pancho family. We have known and loved the Panchos for 11 years. Holly is one of my dearest friends and Tim P was one of Joshua’s Best Men in his wedding last year. I wanted to do something special for our two families in the midst of the busy holidays and to celebrate TimP and Rachel’s relationship. We had a gorgeous meal, lots of laughter and games and a surprise visitor (aka baby Asher)!!

DSC_9431 (Large)

DSC_9402 (Large)

Code Names was one of the popular games this year. Jenny, TimP and I are constantly begging the rest of the group to play with us.

DSC_9426 (Large)

DSC_9429 (Large)

So thankful for the time to take a little break from school and work and enjoy this marvelous time of year when we recognize the blessing of Immanuel, God With Us.


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Young Eagles

As Kathy and I have aged (yes, I’m afraid it happens to nearly all of us) we have noticed a troubling trend: that our children tend to grow into their teen years, start driving, develop their own distinctive interests, and eventually leave the house. This last school year has been unusually quiet, with Joshua, Rachel and Daniel all away at their colleges.

That is not to say that David and Sarah are TOO terribly quiet. David plays the piano (and occasionally the drums) and Sarah can be counted on to fill the house with the sound of her Les Miserables soundtrack day and night. But it cannot be avoided: there is a big difference between five children and two, if only in terms of the noise they make stomping up and down the stairs and slamming doors.

When the kids were growing up, we worked hard to foster a strong sense of family identity, favoring relationships inside the family over outside friends or interests. It seemed to us that if our children could become lifelong friends with each other, this would be a good and precious thing. And so we scheduled family movie nights, celebrated every possible occasion, played lots of games, and generally strove to make our home a warm, cheerful, fun place to be.

Joshua helped me sample a fresh batch of smoked brisket ...

Joshua helps me sample a fresh batch of smoked brisket …

And yet, the kids had different inclinations, and the age and maturity gaps between them sometimes seemed insurmountable. As our boys have grown into young men, and our girls have blossomed into young ladies, their interests have typically diverged even further. Kathy and I sometimes worried whether our kids would choose to be close to each other after they were grown.

Now, as the college kids are returning home for the summer, a new and delightful joy has gripped our home, as our kids rediscover and enjoy each other, more than ever. Whether it is Daniel teaching Rachel how to ride a longboard, or watching all of them play a dice game together at the kitchen table, there is a deep and satisfying delight in seeing their relationships with each other deepened (or in some cases, reforged).

A quick game of Splendor

Or maybe a quick game of Splendor

To add to the fun, Joshua and Kelsie have arrived on a whirlwind visit from Tennessee, and my heart is full, having all the young eagles back in the nest for a few moments.

Admittedly, the 'nest' is a pseudonym for the 'table', much of the time.

Admittedly, the ‘nest’ is a pseudonym for the ‘table’, much of the time.

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Wedding Feast Rehearsal

On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend the rehearsal dinner for my oldest son’s wedding. I was taken aback a little when most of the ladies were dressed in their First Communion Dresses. I supposed that was the format. Joshua and Kelsie were married on Friday evening, to the general delight and satisfaction of their assembled friends and family. We greatly enjoyed witnessing this momentous occasion as the newlyweds embark on the adventure of their marriage.

It was such fun to celebrate with Joshua and Kelsie.

It was such fun to celebrate with Joshua and Kelsie.

Being the father of the groom is a pretty good gig. Kelsie’s family took care of the reception and nearly all of the details of the wedding itself — all I had to do was show up, wear a suit, and pay for the rehearsal dinner. But I must admit, I had some misgivings a few weeks ago, when Kathy told me that I’d be providing a blessing at the end of the dinner.

Getting the room ready for the rehearsal dinner ...

Getting the room ready for the rehearsal dinner …

“A blessing?” I pictured some saint of old like Jacob or Isaac, blessing his sons on his deathbed. “I’m not sure I can pull off the whole patriarch thing,” I told Kathy (although I do have a beard). Later, on the phone, Joshua assured me that I was expected to make some final remarks at the Rehearsal Dinner. I decided I would put some thought into what I would say, rather than trusting entirely in my ability to extemporize. “You might want to make a few notes,” Kathy wisely counseled.

Little did I know that the testimonies and speeches during this event would be one of the highlights of my life.

It began with some of Kelsie’s family reflecting on her character and their relationship with her. Several had notes to which they frequently referred as they related various amusing anecdotes — I began to wish I had followed Kathy’s advice.

Michelle's idea to put up Christmas lights was excellent -- it really transformed the room.

Michelle’s idea to put up Christmas lights was excellent — it really transformed the room.

But then several of the groomsmen stood to speak about Joshua, and several of the bridesmaids spoke about Kelsie, and I began to realize that this was much more than a rehearsal dinner. This was a sacred celebration of the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the students of Union University, and I was privileged with a front-row seat to the Christian community which had been built during the years that Joshua and Kelsie were in Tennessee.

We were blithe enough when we sent Joshua off to school at Union University. He had received a full tuition scholarship, and we really liked what we heard about the school from his cousin, Rebecca. Joshua’s faith in God was solid — we had little fear that he would fall away from the Lord as so many do, when they begin re-inventing themselves in college.

Rehearsal dinner preparation is always better with a coffee from Starbucks.

Rehearsal dinner preparation is always better with a coffee from Starbucks.

But I guess we didn’t really think through what would happen when Joshua got to school — how he would begin to intentionally surround himself with a cohort of other like-minded men of God, and what they would build through purposeful, obedient conviction, walking in faith together. As each of the young men and women stood and spoke about godliness, faithfulness and purity, I felt as though I was attending a rehearsal for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”

– for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” — Revelation 19:6-9

We walked through the ceremony twice, and then settled into a back room of the church, crammed wall-to-wall with tables and chairs. With a wedding party of two-dozen, plus family members, we were a snug group of fifty or so.

I was worried about how tight the seating was, but it actually turned out very well -- it gave the meal a very intimate feel.

I was worried about how tight the seating was, but it actually turned out very well — it gave the meal a very intimate feel.

It was my role to conclude the time with my blessing — so as people were finishing the meal, I stood and warned the assembled wedding party and families that when I next stood up, their opportunity to speak would end. Then I sat back and enjoyed the show.

Two hours later, I leaned over to Kathy. “Should I put an end to this? Surely people have sat in these chairs long enough?”

It took some effort to fit the wedding party across the front of the church, but we eventually managed.

It took some effort to fit the wedding party across the front of the church, but we eventually managed.

Kathy encouraged me to sit tight, and I settled back into my chair as two or three more people stood to testify. Each story contributed to the central theme: that Christ is glorified in Joshua and Kelsie, but also among the other students of that college in a rare and deeply-satisfying way.

What a lovely group of bridesmaids!  Kelsie is very blessed to have so many dear sisters and friends.

What a lovely group of bridesmaids! Kelsie is very blessed to have so many dear sisters and friends.

I realized that I wanted my younger sons and the other young men present to hear these testimonies — to catch a vision for what God can do when a few young people stand together in obedience to His Word and the Holy Spirit. As I later commented in my blessing, we were witnessing the joining of three families — Joshua and Kelsie’s natural families, plus the family of faith that they had built at Union.

If ever a father could have his dearest wish, it was granted to me, as I sat in that back room of the church: heart full of joy, tears brimming in my eyes, listening to the closest friends and relatives of my son and soon-to-be daugther-in-law speak of the work of Jesus in their lives. Truly John wrote: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” — 3 John 1:4

Thank you, Joshua and Kelsie, and thank you to all of your friends and relatives for so many kind and Christ-honoring words. Thank you, Debbie Le, Michelle Kuhlmann and Beckie Madson for slaving behind the scenes to make the rehearsal dinner a success. And thank you, Lord Jesus, for granting us new life and joy and making all this possible!

Project 365, Day 351

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When Family Meets Family

[Guest Blogger - College Sophomore, Rachel]

I had been talking about my family for weeks. They were coming to Jackson for Josh’s wedding which was going to be held a few minutes away from Union. I had to appropriately prep my friends for their arrival, so I passed around pictures, recited names and ages, and frantically waved my hands in excitement at any mention of parents or siblings. My friends soon learned my siblings’ names and their stories; they even knew the names of our two cats. (Who would not be present at the wedding, but were important nonetheless.)

In turn I couldn’t wait to introduce my family to all my friends attending the wedding and to show them Union, my home away from home.

Our first photo as friends!

Our first photo as friends!

In the weeks leading up to winter break, my roommate Karis and I discussed our post final/pre wedding plans. Her parents had generously volunteered to let me stay with them until I was able to move into the hotel with my family. It was so hard to believe that my best friend in college had never met my family. We had already been through so much together; it felt like we had known each other for most of our lives.

Trips with this girl are my favorite

Trips with this girl are my favorite

I got off the phone the night of the 13th, the night before my mom, Michelle (her bff), and Mamie were to arrive. “Was that mom?” Karis asked, sticking her head out of her room curiously. I loved that she was already accepting my family as hers.

I already adored her family after spending Spring break with them last semester, so of course I was thrilled for her to finally meet mine.

The second Karis got off of work, she rushed over to where my three “parents” and I were waiting. The first moments were filled with “hellos” and hugs and wide grins. The five of us then waltzed off to dinner where Karis made a hilarious first impression. We all laughed so hard I think they considered asking us to leave. A successful first night indeed!



(A few days later of course I also dragged my three jet lagged siblings out of their beds to meet her, but that’s a story for another day.)

Family! (Only missing Michelle)

Family! (Only missing Michelle)

Union has become my home away from home, and those there have become my family. I am so very grateful.

College is hard, and having someone alongside you to grow with is vital. Karis, thank you for being my roommate, thank you for standing beside me, for growing with me, and for being someone I can tell everything to. Thank you for understanding how much I love to yell, thank you for encouraging me, and thank you for always laughing at my jokes. Thank you for being forgiving and kind, thank you for accepting me for who I am, but still pushing me to be better. Thank you for being my best friend.
P.S. (I still love you more than coffee.)


Project 365 – Day 348 (Dec 14)

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