Parenting 2014: Our Story

Our parenting journey began with the birth of Collin in October 1998. Becky and I were still young at the time, in our lower 20s. Both of our careers were still developing, but we decided that it would be best if she quit her job to stay at home with the kids. Those early years don’t last long and they are so critical in a childs’ development.

Connor was born 15 months after Collin and then Colton about 3.5 years after him. That allowed Becky 8 or 9 years to be at home with the kids before they were all in school. She continued her education while she was at home though and became an RN so that she would have something to do when the kids reached school age. We do not regret the decision for her to be at home with the kids one bit. Our kids received a lot of one on one time and that has helped them tremendously in more ways than we probably know of.

During their early years Becky and I read to them a lot and just simply spent time playing with them. I remember being on the floor a lot, letting them roll me around like a log. Blue Clues, Dora and the Wiggles were popular then as well. Collin learned to write by mimicking Steve and his Handy Dandy Notebook with a Magna Doodle that we had bought him and still to this day, I find myself singing songs like “Big Red Car” and “Fruit Salad, Yummy, Yummy”. Dora was a step ahead of Dave Ramsey, by saying, “Swiper, No swiping.” We took lots of pictures and videos and had a blast while they were young.

As the kids grew older we started them off in T-ball for a couple of years and dabbled in gymnastics, but one day Collin came home from school with a martial arts book and expressed interest in trying that out. We researched a couple options and decided to go with TKD (Tae Down Do). After Collin started, Connor got in it, then Colton and I joined. Martial arts became a family thing that we did together for about 6 or 7 years. It was a large commitment, because we were at the school for several days a week, but we all eventually met our goal and became black belts. Collin and Connor even earned their second degree.

During this time we also were introduced to a ministry called Bible Quizzing at our church and have since committed our lives to that. Bible Quizzing is a program that is meant to give kids motivation, through competition, for learning scriptures from the Bible, but we are not just talking a few scriptures. Our kids learned 300 to 500 verses each year depending on the age division they are in. We spend an hour or so each evening memorizing and reviewing scriptures together. They must know them to the point that given a unique word they can tell you what verse that word is found in and then quote the scripture word for word. I take them and other quizzers to local and national tournaments to quiz against other teams on what they have learned. Bible quizzing has changed our lives forever. If you are interested in learning more about it check out http://www.seniorbiblequizzing.com or http://www.upcquiz.com.

Even with Bible Quizzing as our main focus, the kids still love to do things many other kids do. Connor made the middle school basketball team this year and Colton plays Upward basketball, a christian based basketball league sponsored by a local church.
Collin started piano when he was 10 and has excelled at that. He performs multiple recitals each year and has joined the music ministry at the church, playing for the youth services as well as subbing in when needed for the main services. Collin has also become infatuated with the Rubix cube. He has spent countless hours mastering it to the point that he can now solve it in under 20 seconds average, with his best time so far being 12 seconds. Connor and Colton have recently began music lessons as well. One is learning guitar and the other drums. I play the bass, so my dream is that one day we can all play together as a family band.

I share all of this with you so that as I write on parenting in 2014 you will know that we are just a typical American family, but we are also rooted and grounded in our christian faith. We love God and we love family and our main goal as parents is to make those things the foundation upon which our kids are raised.

I look forward to writing on parenting this year. As we get deeper into the teenage years, I am realizing that we have a lot of learning to do if we are to stay on top of things and help our kids become what God has intended for them to be.

May God bless you in 2014

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Parenting in 2014

This year I plan to focus my writing for this blog on parenting.

God has blessed Becky and I with 3 boys. At this moment 2 of them are teenagers and one of them will be there soon.
Collin is 15, Connor is 13, (soon to be 14) and Colton is 10.
Our kids are not prefect and Becky and I are no where near perfect parents, but to this point we believe that we have done as good of a job as we knew how at raising great kids.
Now, as they are getting older, our focus is not going to be so much on raising great kids, but raising kids to be great adults.

In the next post I hope to provide some credibility by sharing with you our story in raising our kids to this point.
Going forward I’ll be sharing both our successes and failures in parenting, with the goal of providing some value that you can take and use or learn from.

Parenting can be very rewarding, but it can also be very challenging as well, especially with teenagers.
We have been given an enormous responsibility. Our kids are the future and they will make an impact on society as adults, positively or negatively. We have the power to make this world a better place to live and it all starts with how good of a job that we do as parents.

My kids are waking up right now or need to be woke up and I need to turn my attention to them for a while, but I can’t wait to start by writing our story to share it with you.
If you have kids or even grandkids please enter your email address in the “Follow Me” link to the right.
Doing so will ensure that any future articles that I write will be delivered directly to you.
I want to learn from you as well and the best way to do that is to make this interactive in the comments section of each post.
Together we can help each other in the challenging role of parenting.

Have a very Happy New Year!


The Christmas Story

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Amongst all the hustle and bustle of this time of year, we must remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.
Take some time to sit down with your family and read them the Christmas story.
(I apologize ahead of time if you find any spelling errors. I typed all this manually so that I could soak it all in one word at a time)

Luke 1: 26-38
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, The Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in they womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
For with God nothing is impossible.
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of The Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Matthew 1:18-25
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of The Lord appeared unto him in a dream , saying, Joseph thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
And she shall bring forth a son, and though shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of The Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanual, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of The Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
And knew her not til she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Luke 2:1-21
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said on to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Matthew 2:1-12
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
And they said unto him, in Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of these shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, til it came and stood over where the young child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Here are some other scriptures pertaining to the birth of Jesus…

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore The Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:17
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that they world through him might be saved.

Have a very merry Christmas!


Elf on the Shelf: Adventures of Cyle

This year we thought we would join in on the fun everyone else seems to be having and asked Santa for an Elf on the Shelf.
He came through with a boy named Cyle (pronounced like Kyle, only with a C)

Cyle is pretty laid back during the day, but at night seems to be quite active.
In the mornings we find him frozen in whatever activity he seemed to be doing that night while we slept.

Here are some places that we have found him so far.
I’ll attempt to keep this post updated each day until Christmas.

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Cyle hanging out with some Disney Infiniti guys. Guessing he wants to get in on the game too.

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Cyle climbing the flag pole.

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He’s hoping the kids will see him as they come downstairs

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Swinging from the fan. Not sure how he got up there though.

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Must have been cold last night

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Looks like Cyle stayed up last night watching Rudolph.

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Hanging out in the Christmas tree.

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Proud of Cyle for reading the Bible.

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It appears he was checking out the Christmas story.

20131220-132257.jpgCyle dangling by his feet from a swing set.

20131221-131511.jpgPumping some iron

20131222-144606.jpgPlaying Collin’s 3DS

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20131224-075753.jpg Not sure how he got in there, but must have been hungry

20131224-080608.jpg Cyle likes the guitar


Check it Out! Pictures and Resources pages added

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I am still learning all that can be done with my WordPress website.
Like how to add pages or tabs to the site that are available to you at anytime.
Today I’ve added new pages for pictures and resources.

I enjoy taking pictures and would like to share with them with you through this website.
The first pictures added are from a recent trip to Charleston.
All of these pictures were taken with an iPhone 5S and are unedited. I was impressed with how they came out.
The picture above was taken while walking down the streets of Charleston.
You are welcome to use any that you like for whatever reason you may have.
I’ll be adding more so come back often to check for updates.

The resources pages is something that I plan to continually add to as well.
I want to be able to share with you things that have been helpful to me.
These will be available at any time at the top of the page.

Another page that I hope to add soon is a list of recommended books to read.

Check things out and let me know what you think.
If you find anything that you feel may be helpful to someone else please share.


Why We Cut the Cable

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This week we made a conscience decision to discontinue our cable TV service.
It was an easy decision for Becky and I, but difficult for the kids to absorb.
In this article I will share why we cut the cable and later will share how we were able to adapt and survive. πŸ™‚

Why?
First of all, our cable provider, Charter, decided to go all digital and require setup boxes for each TV in the house.
$6 per month per box! When you have several TVs in the house that adds up. On top of that they increased our cable bill 20% without any heads up or warning at all.

We are budget minded people and do not watch enough TV to justify paying that kind of money for it.
There has always been a no TV rule in our house Monday through Thursdays because of school and with youth activities on Fridays the TV is not used most of the week anyhow. So I made the call and on Monday they came and cut the cable.
Our Charter bill will drop from $185/month to $69.99 per month for just phone and internet. That is over $100 per month in savings!!

Second of all, I actually look forward to seeing how we will adapt.
It feels good in a sense to be one of the weird, abnormal guys without TV service.
Maybe we’ll spend more time outside, playing music or reading.
I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

The most difficult part about cutting the cable will be losing ESPN and Disney. My boys and I enjoy watching college football together on Saturdays and my youngest’ favorite shows are on Disney. We also enjoy the Duck Dynasty series.
When I first broke the news to the kids, it was not taken easily, especially knowing that there are Bowl games coming up and most of them are on ESPN, but sometimes tough decisions have to be made for the better of the household.

I already have some ideas on how to adapt and still be able to catch some sports and Disney shows, but I’ll save that for a future article.

How about you? Do you have cable?
If so, have you ever considered cutting it in order to save money?
I would love to hear from your experiences.


The Importance of Raising Great Adults

Andy Andrews says, “We’re not trying to raise great kids. We’re trying to raise kids who become great adults.”

Our role as parents is larger than most might think.
The future of our country and this world will be shaped by how we are raising our kids today.
Kids are going to be kids for only 25% of their lives. The other 75% they will be adults functioning with whatever core values and fundamentals they have learned from their parents.

We have our kids under our control, like a boat tied to a dock. As they grow older we give them a little bit more slack in the rope at a time until eventually we have to untie the rope and set them free? All of our hard work and time spent with them then gets put to test out in the real world. Will they float or sink? Will they drift aimlessly in the open waters or will they be like a speed boat aimed in a certain direction and gunning it as fast as they can? (Hopefully in the right direction)

In order to raise great adults that are going to be able to sail in the open waters and impact this world positively we must teach our kids to have faith and trust in God, to love your family, to have a great attitude, how to face and conquer problems, how to react when things to go their way, how to deal with conflict, respect for others, work ethic, serving others and the community, to never stop learning, good morals, integrity, how to be a problem solver instead of a problem creator, how to think positively and so much more.

God has blessed my wife and I with 3 boys. I love them and cherish every moment that I can get with them.
But I realize that they will not be kids forever and that their most important and influential days are ahead of them.
They really are great kids, but my goal is that they will become great adults.

How about you? Have you ever thought about it that way?
Please share what you think by commenting below.
If you would like to be sure to receive future posts from me, enter your email address in the “Follow” link to the right.
Thank you and God bless.


The Now, Then, Us and Them: How to Leave a Legacy

My wife and I were privileged to go see the Legacy Journey tour live this past week.
The Dave Ramsey team put on an incredible event. We had a great time and were inspired.

If you care for your family and love helping others then The Legacy Journey is for you. It’s built for those that have already been been through Financial Peace University and need some inspiration and push to take it to the next level.
It’s about leaving a Legacy for our children, their children and beyond.

The theme centered around 4 words.
Now, Then, Us and Them.

The NOW
1 Timothy 5:8. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Get educated, get as big of a shovel as you can and get out of debt.
No matter how big our heart is, we must take care of ourselves first, so that we can have the means to then care for others.
It’s not being selfish; it’s actually the opposite. We must fill our own cup before we can begin overflowing to others.

The THEN
Proverbs 29:18. Where there is no vision, the people perish.

This one is about Retirement Investing, Insurance and College Funding.
Once we have control of our finances, are debt free and have an emergency fund built up, THEN we can start putting money aside for our future and our children’s future.
We must be disciplined in planning with out money instead of just living for the moment.

The US
Proverbs 13:22. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children.

This step is about more than money. Β It’s about character.
“What good is money if the person who is holding it is not a good man”.
“More money makes you more of what you are – good or bad”.
You must have a good handle on your personal life, your marriage and your kids.
Love God, go to church, build a strong marriage and teach your kids about life and giving.

THEM
Proverbs 28:27. He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses.

Once we have built a strong foundation for us to live on that will not crumble, then we can be in a position to reach out and help others.
We are blessed to be a blessing and giving is fun!

Let’s build a legacy?
Let’s be good managers of what God has given us.
Take care of the Now, build the Then, stabilize the Us and give to Them.

May God thoroughly Bless you!

Enter your email in the Follow link to the right if you would like to receive future posts from me on God, Family and Finances.


Cold Fries: Another Lesson from the Drive-Thru

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We’ve all experienced it at some point.
You order a hamburger and fries through the drive-thru.
As you are taking off you reach into the bag to steal just a taste of the fries.
And why not? They always place the fries on top of everything else and they are not in a wrapper like the burgers. It’s just too easy.
What’s worse is the kids are watching your every move from the back seat, salivating and wondering if you are taking one of their fries or not.
There is nothing like good, hot, fresh french fries from the drive-thru.

You happen to pull the longest fry from the bunch and as you place it into your mouth and take the first bite your excitement turns sour when you find that they are stale and cold or luke warm at best.
Not good!

So, now what? No one likes cold fries.
Do you just drive on and deal with it?
Do you have a pity party, fuss and complain?
Do you go ahead and eat the cold fries and hope that this was just a one time event?
Is it worth the hassle to turn around and go ask for more fries?

Let’s think about it from another perspective and then decide.
What if you are the manager of the restaurant and you had no idea that your customers were getting cold fries and not happy?
Maybe there was an equipment malfunction or a new employee who just needed to be trained properly?
What about the people in the car behind you, who are going to get cold fries as well?

You have the power to change it all if you will just park the car, grab your fries, go inside and make the manager aware.
You don’t do it in a mean way, but with an attitude like you would take when helping an elderly person across the street.
You are there to help.

Now everyone is happy. Not only do you end up with freshest, hottest fries possible, but so do your kids and the people next in line that you don’t even know. Even the manager should be happy that you made him/her aware of the problem.

What if you decided not to go back and make the matter known?
Could you be mad or upset if you get cold fries the next time? No, because you didn’t do anything about it.

It’s not all about the cold fries…
It’s about thinking of others, rather than yourself.
It’s about making a difference and effecting the world around you.
It’s about helping others.
It’s about doing something about the situation you’ve been given, instead of just dealing with it and waiting for someone else to take charge.

So the next time you get cold fries, literally or figuratively, do something about it. You can make a difference; You can make your life and those around you better.
Even if it’s one fry at a time. πŸ™‚

What do you think?
Have you ever received cold fries and gone back to get them replaced?
If so, did you have the right attitude and intent?
Please share by commenting below.

If you liked this article, the greatest compliment that you can give me is by sharing it with others.
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“Is That It?”, A Lesson from the Drive-Thru

We recently went through a drive-thru to order ice-cream for the family.
We have 5 to order for and sometimes it is difficult to have everyone’s order ready by the time you get to the window.

After placing an order for 2 vanilla ice-cream cones the drive-thru attendant says to me, “Is that it?”
I said, “No. Just a moment please.”

I then asked for 2 chocolate cones, and before I could open my mouth again the attendant says, “Is that it?”
At this point I am starting to get aggravated and said, “No, we have one more order.”
“I would like a mixed cone please and yes, that is it!”

Apparently, that guy was ready to end his shift and go home or just plainly didn’t care if they made any sales that day or not.
He was looking to do the minimum amount of work required to get the job done.

When I pulled up to the drive through to get my order, I had a gentle conversation with the guy and tried to help him out.
“You know, you will probably get more orders and have happier customers if you start asking them, ‘What else can I get for you?’ or ‘Would you like anything else?'” “You might even get complimented on and even promoted.”

I didn’t say it in a mean way. I was just attempting to teach him a lesson on how to properly serve others.

I’ve had to teach my kids the same lesson every now and then.

The other day my teenage son was helping me with some yard work.
After he completed his little part he came to me and said, “Is that it?”
Just like the drive-thru attendant, he was ready to be done and get back to his thing.
I looked at him and said, “How about asking, ‘Is there anything else that I can help you with dad?'”
I then explained the importance of thinking of others, rather than yourself and always doing more than expected.

How about you? Have you had a similar drive-thru experience, either at a restaurant or with your child?


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