Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Day!

fairfax-fare-egg-and-cheese-english-muffin-with-bacon-2Friday morning has become something of a special treat in our house.  It’s “Bacon, Egg, & Cheese (did I mention bacon?) Day”!  I did not intend for it to happen, but I have become the unofficial cook on Friday mornings.  Honestly, it just doesn’t get much better than a hot cup of coffee and sizzling bacon, so I’m not complaining!

On this particular morning however, three of our children are not feeling well, nobody in our house got much sleep, and everyone was exhausted.  Even my coffee seemed to be dragging its feet this morning.  It’s been a long week and nothing has really gone “as planned,” at all.

So there I was, bacon on the griddle, bread in the toaster, skillet warming, eggs ready and music playing in the background.  I even had Noah contentedly sitting in his bouncy seat so Jenny could take care of some laundry.  Picture perfect. Until…

The bacon wasn’t cooking, Caleb was coughing and begging, others were wandering around in the kitchen (in the way), a couple kids disappeared, and I even tripped over the baby’s seat, twice (he did not notice and he was not injured in any way).

Hannah let me know that I’d been turning the griddle down not up.  Grace informed me that she was “starving to death.”  The egg pan got too hot.  I burned the first round of toast.  Apparently there was even a lego controversy that morning; should the castle tower have a door or not?  Oh, and Caleb informed mommy that “daddy would not give him a drink of water.”

Eventually everyone did enjoy their, albeit crispy,“Bacon, Egg, & Cheese” breakfast.

Here is the point: Go and hug your wife (and your mom), tell her how amazing she is and how much you genuinely appreciate her.  Express your love and praise for her clearly and audibly.  Believe me, you do not do this enough.

Proverbs 31:28 “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”

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“Frozen” Cereal?

15833676258_80c302e68b_z 2Oh wow,  I just heard my dad’s voice, quoting my mother, coming out of my own mouth.  Nooooo!  It cannot be.  (*hanging my head and sighing audibly.)

So I went by the store on my way home the other day.  I was on a simple mission: go in, get a few items (on my list), get out, go home.  As I passed the end-cap of the aisle those mean grocery people had placed a gimmick-cereal there in order to grab the attention of little girls and soft-hearted fathers of little girls; Frozen.

Just to make sure the big softy could not refuse, the cereal was basically just a dumbed down version of Lucky Charms.  It only had two kinds of marshmallows “snow and ice crystals.”  I know…boring colors, right?

Oh yeah, and because Kellogg knows that dads have a hard time denying their daughters happiness, the box is smaller but costs just the same.  Thanks a lot Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven.  In my defense it does say, in all capital letters, right across the top of the box “Collector’s Edition”.

So now we’re sitting at the breakfast table with little people eating their Frozen cereal.  They are smiling, fully absorbed in the cartoon images on the box, and bouncing ever so slightly in their seats.  Then it happened.

“Stop eating the marshmallows with your fingers … you are going to eat all of your cereal, not just the colors.”  Aaaaaaahh!  My dad’s voice, my mom’s words, and my own mouth.  The only consolation is that I did not employ the “there are starving children in Africa” line.

Upon recovering from this echo from my childhood, three things quickly cross my mind:

  1. It is not the end of the world if the kids only eat the marshmallows.
  2. I am so thankful for my mom and dad (especially their patience).
  3. As a father I am always influencing my children, always.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger (bad influence), but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (good influence).”  Ephesians 6:4

Day of Discovery

We have really been looking forward to this day!  After lengthy discussions (more like debates), emotional pleas (that sound like “I really want what I want”), and child-like logic (it has to be this way because I want it to be this way) we arrived at the doctors office for the ultra-sound.  The boys wanted another brother.  Hannah and Lydia wanted a little sister.  Grace wants, well, a baby.  And Caleb just wants his space on mommy’s lap, back.

To be honest the week leading up to our day of discovery was a little nerve racking.  I had to take my sweet wife to the doctor’s office twice for unscheduled visits.  It doesn’t really matter how small the matter, when you’re expecting and things are not right, they are just not right.  Thankfully everything was fine and all is well.

Well, the day arrived.  Drum roll please . . . . . We are having a baby boy!  Well, that’s what the doctor said when he looked at the black-n-white kaleidoscope-looking mini-screen that displays shapes, bones, organs, and gender specific anatomy.

Oh wait, I can see a tiny little face!

2014-08-28 14.52.19Incredible.

The drive home was very interesting.  We talked about how the other children would respond to the news. Joy-unleashed would be a good way to describe the atmosphere. That is, after explaining that there were no winners or losers in the “what do you think the baby is” game.

Somewhere along the road my delight intersected with my reality.  I have another son to love, train, equip, and launch into manhood.  Wow.

Something I read recently came to mind: “The family is supposed to be a training ground in loving authority.  It is a ‘ramping-up’ place that God has given us to learn love, respect, honor, obedience, and trust, in order to prepare us for relating to others and ultimately to God Himself.”

Again, wow.  I love being a dad!  Please Lord, help me to be a good dad.

Hairbrush Hero

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The Crisis: I was sitting quietly at my computer enjoying a cup of coffee and contemplating the deep things of God when Lydia approached me with sadness and fear. “Daddy,” she said, “Have you seen my little pink hairbrush?” Do you have any idea how much hair-brushing is required in a house that contains four females? Wow.

Initial response: I admit it. I was not very gallant in my response to the hairbrush crisis. In fact I was rather brutish. “Sweetheart,” I said, “Daddy doesn’t use your brush and daddy did not have your hairbrush. Now you go find it like mommy said.”

The interruption: Grace tapping my arm, waiting, tapping, waiting, “daddy,” waiting, tapping. Lydia walks away head down, disheartened, and unable to solve the mystery of the missing hairbrush. I finally looked at Grace and said, “Yes Grace. What is it?” “Umm. Daddy,” she says, tilting her sweet little face to one side. “Yes Grace. I’m busy. What do you need?” Grace, “Umm. Do I look pretty daddy?” Sigh. “Yes sweetie. You look pretty.”

The Hunt for Red October: OK, so I didn’t really organize the entire Russian fleet of nuclear submarines to find the hairbrush. Actually, I didn’t even get up from my coffee and computer. About an hour later I happen to be walking down the hall and saw the little brush underneath a chair against the wall. I have to be honest, I walked on by shaking my head and leaving it lay.

An opportunity lost, recovered: Another thirty minutes past and I overheard the troubled voice of little Lydia trying to explain that the little pink hairbrush was gone. Jenny, being much more considerate than I had been, responded with encouragement and counsel. In that moment I remembered seeing the hairbrush!

The moment:  I leapt from my seat (not really), swept little Lydia into my arms (yes I did), whisked her to the top of the stairs like a knight in shining armor (in my head), crawled on my hands and knees under the chair, recovered the brush, and on one knee held forth the little pink brush to my now elated little girl. Hero.

You don’t have to defeat all of the host of Mordor in order to be a blessing to your family. You don’t have to be a Jedi Knight to be a hero to your wife and kids. You just need to give them your time, attention, and affection. You know, act like you like them.

Points to ponder: Psalm 127:3; Deuteronomy 6:7-9; Ephesians 5:25; 1 Peter 3:7

‘Tis the Season

tis8217theseasonIt was a wonderfully snowy Sunday Morning in early December a few years ago when the Sunday school teacher asked her students, “Does anyone know what Season this is?”  Several children eagerly raised their hands to answer the question.  Our oldest daughter Hannah must have seemed extra enthusiastic as she was called upon to give her answer.  Smiling from ear to ear she proclaimed, “It’s deer season!”

It’s true.  Like so many Southern Iowa natives our house over the years becomes a hunting lodge between the September’s Youth Season and the January High-Power Season.  I must say that I am so blessed to have a wife who does not mind living in a meat locker / butcher shop for a while every year.  Fortunately, in more recent hunts, our friends have allowed us to use their “shop” and things haven’t been so messy around our house.

Some of the men I know would argue that the hunting season is the “most wonderful time of the year.”  While I would agree that it is indeed wonderful I would argue that every event or evening spent with your family is the “most wonderful.”  I have never heard any parents say, “Oh how I wish I would have spent more time at work while the kids were growing up.”  Or, “I really wish we would have had fewer meals together as a family.”  No one in their right mind would ever say, “While my children were young, we played way to many games together.” Or, “My kids always got in the way of my hunting.”

There are several things that I enjoy about the hunting season.  I love being out in the woods with my children.   I love teaching them, walking with them, helping them understand safety, the elements, and just being amazed by God’s creation all around us, together.  I want them to understand how to properly handle firearms, clean whatever game they get, provide for the family, and just what it means to “have dominion” over the earth, as Genesis 1:26, 28 instruct.

This is a wonderful time of the year – for many reasons.  The holidays are a terrific time because they tend to be focused times for the family.  I want to encourage you not to wait until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day!  Make plans to spend a few evenings at home, together, as a family. If you are a hunter, include your family, teach your children, and take advantage of the limited opportunities you have to influence them for God’s glory and their own good!

Clegguart Mitchell

Not Always Easy

I love my wife and I am not ashamed to say it!  She is my best friend and I am her best friend.  We will be happily married for nineteen years this August and I can honestly say that we have grown closer to one another with each passing year.  She is my sunshine, my delight, and my treasure.  My name is Clegguart Mitchell and I approve this message.

God has been so kind to bless us with six children; and a new baby due in December!  The children range from almost three up to fourteen years.  We love to go golfing, fishing, hunting, and playing all sorts of games together.  Yes, each child is different and has his or her own personality, preferences, and problems.  But I can honestly say, I love every one of them in their own personal uniqueness and I would not trade any one of them for anything in the world!

As a husband I have no problem loving and honoring my wife.  As a dad my chest puffs up with the best of them when thinking and speaking of my children.  As a man accountable to God for leading in my home and shepherding my family, well, life is not always easy.  I am so thankful that God’s Word spells out so simply and so clearly what God’s design and desire are for me!  Now, you may be single, a single parent, childless, or even a grandparent. God has written down His design and desire for you no matter where you are in life!

Parenting is not always easy.  A young pastor fresh out of Seminary and newly married preached a sermon that he called “The Ten Commandments of Child Rearing.”  A couple years and one child later he changed the title to “Five Biblical Principles for Parenting”.  A few years and another child later he re-titled again to “Three Suggestions for Parents”.  As you may have guessed after ten years and three children he was no longer in the ministry, he was selling used cars.

Sometimes raising children is just hard.  In one bookstore I counted over sixty titles on “Family” and most of them did not agree!  Mark Twain had an interesting idea about parenting.  When you are faced with one of those hard moments consider what Mr. Twain said.  His philosophy was: “When a kid turns thirteen, stick him in a barrel, nail the lid on top and feed him through the knothole.  When he turns 16, plug up the hole!”

It is almost Father’s Day.  Did you know that God actually spells out the stages of personal growth for us Dad’s?  In Psalm 127:1-2 we need a godly foundation; v3-5 we need to trust God for blessed fruitfulness; Ps 128:1-4 we can enjoy a happy family life; and v5-6 we get to reap the joys of a satisfying family when we get older.  God really does have a plan, and friend, He wants to help you!  Read His Word, the Holy Bible, and you will be amazed by all that you discover!

 

Clegguart Mitchell