The World of Selfies

Selfies.  A word that I never heard growing up.  Now, of course, it’s such a popular term that it has found its way into the dictionary like the word “Google” has.

Taking a selfie is something I rarely do.  In fact, I really don’t do much with the camera on my phone (or any camera, for that matter).  My wife, on the other hand, is quite familiar with her camera and selfies.  (I’m glad she is.  Otherwise, we would hardly have any pictures of our boys from over the years.)

We were all invited to a wedding yesterday.  I may or may not have mentioned in previous conversations that my wife does Daycare work out of the home.  One of the moms she watches for was getting married and invited us to the wedding.  So, as you can imagine, I’m basically flying blind as I attend this event.  I hardly know the mom and certainly don’t know anybody else in attendance.  My wife wasn’t too far behind me either.  She may have known another person or two, but she was essentially in the same boat as I was.  But that was okay.  Our boys were with us in the boat as well, so we were content as a family to just float along and enjoy the afternoon.

It’s interesting to watch people you don’t know interact with other people that they obviously do know.  Interesting behavior was observed all the way around:  An older couple walked in and were greeted by a woman whom they had apparently not seen for a long time.  She gave each one of them a peck on the lips as they caught up on human events.  A couple of individuals even deemed this celebratory event worthy of bringing an open beer to the wedding ceremony.  But none was more entertaining for us than the young woman who sat directly in front of us.

She wore a skirt short enough that my wife was concerned our boys would eventually see something they shouldn’t see as this woman sat in front of us.  Then, almost immediately, she pulled out her phone.  I thought, Oh no!  Here come the selfies!  She held it out and slightly up in classic selfie fashion.  Her head tilted to one side.  She smiled real big (I know, because I could plainly see the selfie screen of her phone as she held it out for all of us to see).  Click.  (Her head tilts the other direction.)  Click.  (She and the woman next to her lean in together.)  Click.

Then, in what had to be gold medal Olympic selfie speed, her fingers flew all over her on-screen keyboard as she madly texted something.  This seemed to be extremely important as it had to go along with the selfies she had just taken.  The world of Facebook was waiting!

This happened two or three times from the time we first sat down to the end of the ceremony.   At least I can say that I came away from that wedding knowing I was entertained and certainly wasn’t bored!

One On One Time

I didn’t grow up having one-on-one time with my Dad.  I really wish I had been able to.  But that’s one of those things you don’t necessarily have control over.  Not so with my boys!

The power of generational influence is huge.  God’s original design for this was to have a father teach and influence his children so that they know more and can do more than he ever did.  Then, when his children have children of their own, they are doing the same thing.  The result is that each generation is further ahead and knows even more than the one before it.  And each generation is passing on its legacy to the next.

What do you think the answer is to the question, “Is this happening today?”  I know it’s happening, but not near to the degree that it should be.  I want to do my part to change that.  And that starts with how I raise my own children and how I influence them for the next generation.

It’s important for you to know that this cannot be done properly without God’s help.  That’s intentional, too, by the way.  And I’m glad it is!  Why try to do something like that without His help?  He’s the One who knows all about us anyway.  After all, we’re made in His image.

My one-on-one time with my children is vital.  It makes them more comfortable talking about uncomfortable things.  And it helps them get to know their Dad better.  It’s uncomfortable for me, too, but so worth it when I look at the Big Picture:  I’m very thankful that my boys know that as they grow up through the roller coaster ride of adolescence, they can come to their Dad with any question or problem that they may run across.  (They can come to their Mom, too, but who knows better what they’re going through or experiencing better than their Dad?  And by the way, a mother’s influence with her daughters should be the same way as well.)

This can get in to other areas like mentorship, counseling, teaching and other related things.  Those all have their equal importance and they can all effect the influencing of the next generation.  In looking to keep this as simple as possible, however, I would recommend reading a book to start you in the right direction (if you’re needing that input).  It’s entitled, “Preparing Your Son For Every Man’s Battle” by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker.  The first half of the book is my focus for recommending it.

Whether you are a Mom or a Dad, single or married, with boys or girls or any combination thereof, the first half of the book will help you see the importance of one-on-one time and how to effectively implement it.  From there, you can go to whatever source you’d want to for your children’s needs (if you have boys, the second half is right there for you to use to get you started).

I hope you are able to positively influence your children for the next generation.  I pray God’s blessing on your efforts!

Autumn In The Air

Autumn has definitely been in the air this week.  Cooler temps and shorter days certainly add to the feeling that the Holidays are just around the corner.  The sky itself–the position of the sun and even how the clouds look–lends to that Autumn feel in the air.

Tahquamenon Falls, Michigan

Our family loves this time of year.  The coziness that comes with the weather getting colder and the Autumn decorations coming out (excluding anything to do with Halloween) continues on into the Christmas season.  Even more so with all of the Christmas decorations that come out.  Some people and families don’t make this much of a big deal.  And that’s certainly ok for them.  But for us, it takes on a wonderful life of its own.

This time of year also means getting ready for home school.  And this year brings for us a new curriculum that we’re using.  That usually brings a little more stress to the situation since we aren’t familiar with the curriculum.  But compared to the stress teachers deal with in public school on a daily basis, what we endure is hardly worth mentioning.

My wife does Daycare out of the home and has watched kids for a number of school teachers over the years.  One of them was homeschooling her kids, even though she was a teacher!  If that doesn’t go to show how bad things have gotten in our school systems, I don’t think much else will.  That arena certainly is not what it used to be when I was a kid.  I wouldn’t want anything to do with it now, which is another reason we took the home school plunge years ago.

We certainly recognize that homeschooling isn’t for everyone,  but for those willing to do it, it’s very much worth the effort!  We have found it makes things far more flexible for us, allowing for trips to see family in Michigan certain times throughout the school year.

So, as we begin that process once again, it just goes to remind me that Autumn–my favorite time of the year–is here again!

Autumn at Sault Ste Marie, Michigan

Happy Autumn, my friend!

Ode to an Air Mattress

An air mattress is very convenient.  Something I know didn’t exist when I was a kid like it does today.  Nowadays you can find them in about every shape and size and for every possible need known to man.  We own quite a few between camping, traveling and having company stay at the house.  We even have two twin-sized air mattresses that came from the inside of our old Select Comfort air mattress that we had for a very old waterbed frame.  Now that’s the way to sleep on an air mattress!

It’s Labor Day weekend which for us means camping.  We’re at a fantastic campground just north of Richmond, Indiana called Grandpa’s Farm.  Nicely secluded and lots of trees for shade.  We’ve got some very good friends with us on this trip.  They love to camp but currently don’t own a camper, so we put all four kids in a tent (they have two boys and so do we) and us adults stay in our Coleman Niagara pop-up camper.

As you can imagine, pop-up mattresses are not comfortable…..at all.  We’ve slept on an air mattress on top of the pop-up’s mattress since we’ve owned the camper.  The last one we had didn’t last long at all before getting a leak in it.  This led us to trying to get by without one.   (So far, this line of thinking has not panned out very well.).  This other couple–Jason and Patty–have slept on some memory foam on top of the pop-up’s mattress.  But alas, they have had the same result as we’ve been experiencing:  Sore everything.

This particular trip found Patty insisting that they bring their air mattress for them to try on top of the pop-up mattress.  Jason felt it would sit too high, but she still wanted to try it.  And he, being the good husband that he is, respectfully relented his position on the subject and loaded it in their vehicle (all the while committing to keep to himself the words, “I told you so”).

Now, it is important that you know a key fact regarding the bunk-ends on our pop-up.  Ours being a Niagara, it has everything we wanted in a pop-up:  Fridge, toilet, shower, microwave, gas oven and lots of space.  This means that the bunk-ends are both King-size beds with lots of head room at the far end of each bed.  Well, as Jason began inflating the mattress, it looked like it might actually work for them.  But then it kept inflating.  And inflating.  And growing larger and taller.  Thus ensued a conversation or two, first between me and Jason:

“Ummm…..Jason?  I don’t think this is going to work.  You’re going to scrape your nose against the roof of the bunk-end.  That could hurt.”

“Yeah.  Go get Patty.”

“Yessir!”

When I went out to get her, my wife heard about what we were doing and went in to see it.  I could hear her laughing from where I was standing at the campfire.  Then I followed Patty in to where the mattress was and witnessed the next conversation.

(Patty):  “Oh wow.”

(Jason):  “I know.”

(My wife):  “You should get on it.”

At which point Patty did.  At first, though, she posed for a picture:

Then my wife insisted that Jason get up on top of it.  He was initially concerned about the thinner air at higher altitudes, but we assured him he would be fine.  Here’s what we saw:

Needless to say, they didn’t use it and promptly deflated it.  But it sure made for a memorable Labor Day camping weekend!