How To Survive A Pickle Fight…

Pickle Power

It seems that the secret to surviving a pickle fight is to take time to aim.  What you don’t want to do is just “muscle throw” the pickles around.  That is a surefire way to lose a pickle fight.

Got it?

Above is just a sample of what you may hear at my house on any given evening.

Here is the back story:

My wife and I were getting ready to tuck the kids in bed.  We were sitting on the bed in our room discussing the day and out of no where my wife said something about having a tickle fight.  We were joking about which one of us would win in a tickle fight when my twelve-year-old daughter walked in.  I immediately asked her whether her mom or I would win in a tickle fight.

Without missing a beat she said “definitely Mom.”  Her reasoning made sense.  She said Mom would take time to aim the pickles and probably use a slingshot, but Dad would just “muscle throw” the pickles around.

It took about three seconds before my wife and I burst out laughing.  I don’t usually use text shorthand, but we were definitely LOLing.

Here are a couple of lessons I learned from this instance:

  1. Have fun as a couple in front of your kids. 

    We have a fun house. (Notice the space, not a funhouse, although sometimes things do get crazy.)  Rarely does a day go by when we haven’t played together as a family.  My daughter feigns disgust when I kiss her mom or give her a hug, but I am showing her how she needs to be treated when she is married.  She sees a house where her parents love each other and laugh together.  We genuinely enjoy each other’s company and it shows in our marriage and in our house.   

  2. Laugh often and laugh loud.  

    This is an offshoot of the first point.  We laugh in our house.  A lot.  I am not too big to make a fool out of myself for a laugh.  I think it is important that there is laughter in a house.  It is a sign of good health.  If there are things to laugh about it means that there is love in a home as well.  It keeps us strong as a family and binds together.

  3. Be prepared to make a memory no matter where you are or what time it is.  

    Just like a random pickle/tickle fight, we create memories wherever we are.  If you take time to look for them these type of situations are everywhere.  I could tell you many stories of times that a memory is etched in my mind just because we were being ourselves.  From “last one in is a cotton egg” to “lellow is my favorite color” to “flip school-dad flips the kids on the bed” to “flop school-dad flops you back on your back on the bed” to “the ultimate spin-kid on dad’s shoulders spinning, dad almost throws up”–the memories are there to be made.

  4. Take in all the joy that life has to offer.  

    In case you haven’t noticed, this life is tough.  There are plenty of things to sap us of our joy.  Take the time to laugh at the funny things that the people in your life say.  Enjoy the little moments that go in the pages of your life’s scrapbook.  I promise if you take in these things it will make the difficult things of life a little more manageable.

So take it from me, the next time you find yourself in a pickle fight.  Take your time.  Aim the pickles carefully.  Don’t go muscle throwing them all willy-nilly.

In a tickle fight, however, willy-nilly is a pretty good strategy.

But this is the most important thing:  Be the type of person that would be willing to have a pickle fight, a tickle fight, a pillow fight, a dance battle, be the catcher of lighting bugs, make the biggest splash in the pool, in short–a memory maker.

I promise the memories will stick with you forever and carry you through some rough days.

photo credit: <a href=””>Enokson</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>


What’s the last impromptu memory you made?

Dad, I’m Gonna Hug You For 45 Minutes and Not Let Go!

 A 45 minute hug


Tomorrow afternoon, at about 4:30, I am going to make sure that my arms are empty.

For the past week, I have been a bachelor.  My house has been silent.  No running feet, no slamming doors, no laughter.  Just me, the dog, and a whole lot of lonely.

My wife and kids went to visit some family out of state and for a variety of reasons I had to stay behind.  It doesn’t take long to start missing what is missing from your house.

I saw the quote above on a tweet from Focus on the Family today.  It made me smile, because it made me think of something my son said when I was talking to him on the phone yesterday.

“Dad, I really miss you.”

“I miss you too buddy.”

“When I get home, I’m gonna hug you for 45 minutes and not let go.”

“I guess I’d better go to the bathroom right before you get home then.”

“It’s ok, I’ll come with you to the bathroom.”

“Ok buddy, a 45 minute hug sounds great to me.”

“I love you Dad.”

“I love you to kiddo.”

Whoever wrote the quote above had it right.  I know that I am rich beyond measure. I have two kids that think I hung the moon.  I happen to think that they are pretty amazing too.

So, I can’t wait for that 45 minute hug.

That sounds like a perfect way to start a Friday night.



Wisdom & Innocence; A Prayer For Your Children

Man Praying

It’s a tough world out there.

Don’t believe me?  Just turn on the news and watch it for about five minutes.  You will see and hear more negative in that five minutes than you would imagine.  It is the same thing on any news website online.  Things are either negative and depressing or trashy and degrading.

You may think this world can’t get any worse.

I have a feeling that Christians have been saying that for centuries.  My 93-year-old grandmother has told me how her mother used to make similar statements in the years before and around the Great Depression.  She would say that Jesus must be coming back soon, because she didn’t think this world could get any worse.

For those of us with children it can be even more disheartening.  As a parent, I see what kind of world my children are inheriting and it drives me to my knees in prayer.

With that in mind I want to show you a verse from Romans that I have been praying over my children for several years now.  The verse is second part of Romans 16:19:

I rejoice because of you;

but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

I love what this verse says, because it is so very important for our children.  In context, Paul is warning the believers in Rome to be cautious about people who were causing divisions in the church and by extension, divisions between believers and Jesus.  Here is the entire passage:

Romans 16:17-19

 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

I have made the last part of this verse my prayer for my children because I believe it speaks right to the heart of where we are in our society today.  Our country is fragmented and divided and popular opinion is “contrary to the teaching we have learned.”  People are definitely not serving Jesus, but instead their own appetites. There is an abundance of smooth talk and flattery both inside and outside the church.

So what are we to do?


As a parent, my job is to make sure that my children are wise about what is good.  I have to make sure that my children see an example of godly living within my home.  I work hard to show my kids how a Christian husband/father/man is supposed to behave.  My wife works hard to show my kids how a Christian wife/mother/woman is supposed to behave. We take our kids to a Bible believing, truth-teaching church. We try to surround them with positive roles models and show them the truth about the things of God.


I also have to do my best to protect my children and keep them innocent about what is evil.  To me this means to shield them from things that they don’t need to see and hear.  Have you ever seen a movie and thought, I shouldn’t have watched that?  Or read something or heard language and wished you could get it out of your mind? The devil is good at trying to worm his way into our minds.  It is like the old adage, garbage in-garbage out.  As a parent who wants to keep his children innocent about what is evil, I try to protect my kids from the evil that is on television, in movies, in books, and in the language they hear.  I want them to not have the filth of this world in their heads for as long as possible.

Let me be clear on something here.  I am not saying to deny the fact that there is evil in this world.  If I do that then they are in for a shock as they get older.  My kids know there are bad things and bad people in the world.  However, I do need to shield them and protect them as long as I can.

Hands on a Bible

So my prayer for my kids each night is this:

Father, help my children grow healthy and strong, both physically and spiritually. Help them to grow closer to you as they learn to walk in your ways.  Help them to be shielded and protected from the schemes of the devil.  I know that my family is a threat to the devil and an asset to your Kingdom.  Help my children to be wise to what is good, and innocent about what is evil. Give my children victory in this life and help them have the strength to stay faithful to you and to do the work that you have called them to do.  

And Lord, one more thing…

Please make the words Paul spoke in verse 20 true for my family:

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

Thank you for being victorious and filling me with your Holy Spirit and power.

In Jesus name.  Amen!

The Surprise of Stillness

January 12, 2011

We absolutely hate to sit still.  Think about it, we have to keep moving.  It may be in our cars, going to the store, going to work or going through the drive-through at McDonald’s. It may be in our house on the computer, checking e-mail, looking at Facebook, texting or watching television.  Whatever you choose, chances are you can’t sit still either.

I am watching the news this morning and it is proving my point.  Reporters are at the side of Interstate 75 showing a 3-mile long line of cars and trucks sitting still.  At the airport the reporter shows travelers sitting still and rows of planes sitting still.  According to reports not one plain has taken off this morning from the worlds busiest airport.

It seems like with all this stillness it is a perfect time to hear the voice of God.  After all, what else is there to do that is more important.

Psalm 46:10 says, Be still and know that I am God…

This verse is a great reminder to us about the power of stillness.  Unfortunately sometimes it takes something as dramatic as a snowstorm to give us pause and to let us become still. 

Today as the first day of the corporate fast begins, embrace the stillness.  As you dig into the Word let it permeate into your soul.  Let the fact that you are stuck draw you closer to the Father.  Let the things that are important be important.

Yesterday I went outside with my 8 year old daughter and 4-year-old son and made memories.  We tromped through snow in the woods behind our house following the tracks of several deer.  We slid down the snow and ice encrusted street on a piece of plastic and laughed when we crashed to a stop.  We fell on our backs in the snow and just enjoyed the stillness.  All of which is not typical Monday behavior for any of us.  The stillness didn’t allow me to be particularly productive, but when then we came inside and sat by the fire sipping hot chocolate, my daughter said, “Dad, this was the best day ever!” 

Thank you Lord for the stillness that causes me to see what’s important.

Future Generations, Future Blessings.

As parents, if we live for God, our blessings will be passed down to our children and subsequent generations.

         In this week’s message, Pastor Jimmy made the statement above.  Its context was in regards to Solomon—David’s son and recognized as the wisest man who ever lived.  Solomon had big shoes to fill.  After all, his father was known as “a man after God’s own heart.”  Although Solomon failed God towards the end of his life, he left behind much that we can admire and much that we can learn from.

         The statement that the way I live now will affect my children and future generations is something that I have thought about frequently.  I come from a family that has a Godly Christian heritage.  Both my parents are believers as are all of my grandparents.  My grandmother even played the organ at one of Billy Graham’s early revivals.  I am blessed to follow in the footsteps of the ones who came before me.  In the same way, I have been blessed in this life with a wonderful wife, beautiful children, my health and my salvation.

         But the same foundation that has been laid for me I must continue to be lay for my children.  I often look at my kids and wonder what plans God has for them.  I am then reminded that I must fervently pray for them and their future.  I must walk according to God’s will for my life both to give them an example to follow and also to pass on the blessings that God has given me. 

         Many of us are resigned to the fact that we will face the consequences of our actions. In some ways we believe that we can handle that.  But it becomes a different story when our children and grandchildren have to suffer because of our sin.  That is the problem with sin; it taints everything around it.  There are many stories in the Bible of the effects of one person’s disobedience being passed down from generation to generation.

         I would urge you this week to consider the effects of your walk with God on your family.  Are you living in such a way that God will bless you and as a result those blessings can’t help but overflow on to those around you?  Or are you living in a way that is displeasing to God and the effects of that are seeping into your family life?

         What you and I do here and now has echoes in eternity.  The way we choose to live can be a blessing or a curse on our children and grandchildren.  Make the choice today to be a father or mother that passes on blessings to future generations.

Father, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a blessing to others long after I am home with You.  Help my life to be a shining example for those I love to follow.  Help me to walk this day according to your purpose and plan and to follow you in obedience.  Bless me as you said you would and let those blessings flow down to the ones I love.  In Jesus name, Amen.