Coming of Age

Growing up brings many “coming of age” moments.  For our oldest son, he’s experiencing a pretty big one today:  Shaving for the first time.

I remember my first shave.  I was pretty nervous about it.  Of course, that may be also due to the fact that I was in fifth grade when that happened.  Yes, I shaved my mustache every two weeks at that point.  By middle school, I was dressing like a back woodsman with a beard down to my belly button and a deep, gravelly voice that drove the girls crazy.  (Ok, maybe I didn’t have the beard.  Or the backwoods clothing.  I had the deep voice, but no girls.  Fine…forget it.  Moving on.)

William will be shaving his rather thick mustache today.  My wife pointed out that he even has an inch-long hair or two on his throat under his chin.  Yup…it’s time to shave.  He’s pretty excited about it.  Monumental moments in the coming of age process and this is one of them.

Do you see them with your kids?  Unfortunately, my Dad wasn’t too keen on taking advantage of moments like this.  That’s not going to happen with my boys.  I just pray that God helps me see them when they come along (I’m certainly looking for them).  What kind of influence can a Dad have on a child during this coming of age process?  I totally believe it’s more than us Dads can possibly fathom.  What about our Heavenly Father?  He’s the Dad of all Dads, right?  You can bet He doesn’t miss a single one of these kind of moments in our walk with Him.  We are told very clearly in His Word that He has never failed us and He never will.

So when a coming of age moment like shaving for the first time comes up, look out!  Someone’s going to get cut.  And deal with ingrown hairs.  And sensitive skin.  But he’ll get used to it.  He’s got a good example to follow in his Dad.

Nose Strips

Have you ever used nose strips?  They’re cushioned pieces of thin plastic that are encased in a band-aid-like adhesive strip.  You open them just like a band-aid and place them across the bridge of your nose just above the nostrils.  They look like this:

My wife and I use them off and on and they seem to work pretty good.  They certainly open the nasal passages and help to keep snoring at a minimum.

Not too long ago, we woke up one morning and were talking about them.  We were both laying on our sides, looking at each other and talking about how we had slept the night before.  Things were said like, “It’s wonderful after fifteen years of being married to each other that we are more in love now than we were then!”  “How did you sleep last night?”  “These strips work pretty good!”  It was then that we both noticed how mine had started to come off on one end. That started a conversation about how good the adhesive is.  And then about what the best way to take them off is.

I was still talking about how the edge of my nose strip had worked loose when she said, “I usually take mine off fast.  Like this.”  And she immediately reached over and peeled mine off my nose so fast that I hardly knew what had just happened.  Until the burning pain set in like fire across my nose and tears flooded my eyes like torrents of rain and I screamed out in agony….

Ok, it wasn’t that bad.  But it did burn like fire.  Probably almost as bad as child birth, but I won’t bring that up.  At least I wasn’t laughing hysterically when she was giving birth to our children.  Unlike the outcome of her brutal actions that morning.

It’s a good thing I love her like I do.

A Load of Crap

Bathrooms can be unpleasant to deal with.  Especially when you’re getting new flooring put in and need to take the toilet up.  Definitely a load of crap.

I haven’t had to pull a toilet up in years (thankfully).  When I did, it was in our old house which sat on a concrete slab–all one level.  I had a horrible time getting that toilet to sit correctly on the new wax ring–another load of crap.  (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, toilets sit on a big wax ring which creates a seal between the toilet and the sewer pipe.)  Here’s a picture of what I mean:

 

The typical problem that occurs with this potentially nasty and disgusting task is having the bolts that the toilet sits on move around on you as you try to set the toilet down on top of the new wax ring.  They look like this:

These bolts slide down into the top of the flange (the top of the sewer pipe) and sit loosely so that you can place the wax ring on top of the flange and in-between the bolts.  This sounds simple enough but quickly becomes a rather large load of crap when the bolts start moving around as you place the toilet on the wax ring.

Now in some circles, the wax ring is supposed to be pushed onto the bottom of the toilet before attempting to set it down on top of the flange.  This effort can be met with equal frustration and a few choice words since the wax ring can have a tendency to pop off the bottom of the toilet.  This results in a circle of wax on your floor as the wax ring plops down in a heap of smashed-in edges and flattened sides.  To add to the predicament, attempting to install the toilet this way also means that you can’t see how the new wax ring sets itself into the flange.  This provides for an even bigger load of crap as it means that you are sure to have water leaking out of the bottom of the toilet from a poorly set wax ring.

So what to do??  Well, a good friend of mine helped me with a couple of rotted sub-floor issues I encountered when getting new flooring in the house recently.  One of them was around the upstairs toilet that I needed to pull.  His Dad was a plumber and I found out something that you may find very helpful the next time you need to pull and reinstall a toilet.

Here is all you need to do in order to get a toilet seated correctly on a new wax ring:  Instead of setting the floor bolts loosely into the top of the flange, find an extra washer and nut that will fit the floor bolts.  Set the floor bolts in place and put a washer and a nut on top of each bolt. TIghten them down so that the bolts don’t move.  Then set the new wax ring in its correct position, centered on the top of the flange between the bolts.  Bring the toilet down onto the wax ring, keeping the bolts centered in the bolt holes on the base of the toilet.  Gently rock the toilet slightly from side to side as you press down on the toilet bowl.  Then sit down on top of the toilet, slightly moving your weight from side to side.  Secure the toilet to the floor with the original washers and nuts and you’re all set.

Hopefully this little bit of news will help make removing and reinstalling a toilet the lightest load of crap it can be for you!

Being Busy

Being busy can make you feel productive. It can also go too far and take away the down time that we all so desperately need to charge our batteries.

God knew that. It’s one reason He told us to take a day off and rest awhile. Sometimes, though, things come up. Things unplanned that make that day of rest a day of work.

You know something though? It’s for our benefit that we’re supposed to take a time out–not God’s. As much as we try sometimes, we still end up being busy and not getting that necessary time off.

We bought a new house a month and a half ago. It’s been a long time of working twelve-hour days between the house and my daily job. Some of those days have necessarily had to be Sundays. And today was one of them. But what I have steadily come to realize is that there is plenty of room in this walk with Jesus for experiencing His grace in my daily life.  Even when–justified or not–I don’t take the time out that He says is so necessary.

What am I trying to say?  It certainly isn’t His will that I don’t follow a commandment He gave and end up being busy.  But when it happens and I acknowledge it before Him, He’s always faithful to forgive me.  Absolutely nothing can separate me–or you–form His love!  And that’s something to take the time to experience!

Just some thoughts as I wrap up my Sunday…..