What uncommon things do we want to become common?

Things like:
our children having mutual love and respect for each other.
our teenage children having love, honor, respect and obedience for their parents.
us continually becoming better friends and lovers.
our family totally trusting God in all things and putting our faith in Him to fulfill his promises.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Steele's 12th Birthday Bash

By Creg
Micheal getting stuffed in the barrel
Steele decided to invite some friends over for his 12th birthday. What do a group of 10-12 year old's do for fun? They get in a 55 gallon barrel, put pillows all around them and have someone roll them down a hill. Steele had tried rolling in a barrel on a flat surface but he thought it would be fun to try going down a hill for his party. So, we moved a huge wrestling mat to cover a small hill with padding. Then we put some crates held up with cinder blocks under the end of the mat so the barrel wouldn't keep rolling to the neighbors.

Steele carrying the barrel up the hill for the next turn while the ladies watch.
Who wants to go first? Steele tried it first to make sure all of the safety features (the pillows) were in working order before his friends arrived. He said it was a wild ride with the chance of injury being very low. When the guys started getting here they all sprinted to the hill to go next. They took turns going down the hill for about 45 minutes.

After that we played a game called nuke-em . It's similar to volleyball except you catch the ball when it comes over the net and then either throw it back over or throw it to a teammate who then throws it over the net. The object is to try not to let the ball hit the ground on your side.

Chelsa leads Chris in the beginning of the airplane game.
The airplane game was next. The idea is to make them think they are really high in the air and then try and get them to jump. Their really only 4-6 inches off the ground. After blindfolding them Chelsa puts their hands on her shoulders and tells them to get ready for lift off. Samantha & I lift the board they're standing on just off the ground.

Noah finally "jumps" to safety.
As Chelsa continues to talk she squats down & keeps their hands on her shoulders which makes it seem like they are rising higher & higher. When Chelsa is as low as she can go everyone starts screaming, "You're to high, you have to jump." Steele had a small branch & at that point he brushed it on their head, making them think they were as high as a tree. All of them loved it and really thought they were 8-10 feet in the air. They all wanted to go again, even after they realized they were barely off the ground.

Later, we took a trip to the river & played on the raft for a little while. When we stopped playing long enough to realize we were hungry we started a campfire & roasted hotdogs with smores for dessert.

The grand finale was a fireworks show that we put on in the back pasture. Steele had saved some miscellaneous bottle rockets and such from the New Years celebration we had. Everybody had a great time and Steele asked, "Do we have to wait until next year to do this again?"

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Room of Healing

By Creg
This hotel room is where 4 couples, & 3 counselors spent 35 hours in 4 days together. There were bible studies, shared life experiences, intimate conversations, laughing, bold questions, wise advice, sad stories, & lots of crying (all of those tissue boxes in the picture were used by the time we were done).

After I quit my teaching & coaching job 4 years ago and we started doing jobs as a family & spending more time ministering to others, the dynamics of our marriage changed quite a bit. We were now together 24/7 for the most part. Needless to say, some adjusting was required. Chelsa, along with being my wife, became my closest friend and employee (sort of). That was different. We struggled with those roles for a while & never quite got the communication & expectations like we wanted. After a few years of trying to fix things on our own we started talking about getting some marriage counseling, but we always decided we could do it on our own.

A couple of months ago we started going verse by verse through the book of Proverbs for our morning family Bible study. Over and over again Proverbs talks about how wise people seek Godly advice. It finally hit us that God was trying to tell us it's good to get Biblical counseling. So, we started looking at the options for retreat/seminar weekends for marriages. I found quite a few of them that looked fun & more like a vacation with an auditorium full of people laughing at a humorous speaker. That was not what we wanted. A friend recommended a marriage intensive through Relational Care out of Austin so we checked them out. It was by far the longest & most expensive, but most of the time you get what you pay for. So we signed up.

The first thing we did was several hours of on-line questionnaires. Then we went to Austin for 8 hours of counseling (which was absolutely wonderful). Then we went to the Omni Hotel in Austin for 4 days of "intensive" marriage counseling with 3 other couples. From 9 am until about 9 pm (we had an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner which we all ate together at a big table) we all were in the hotel room together.

The premise of Relational Care intensive counseling is not to try & change each other, that's the Holy Spirits job, but to heal any hurt (all anger comes from hurt) that has been experienced by learning how to care for & comfort each other. Remove their aloneness with a more intimate relationship. That starts with honesty & intimate openness. We all shared our childhood experiences and some had a lot of pain from that time. Others had some issues that they never realized until they talked it out with wise, trained counselors asking hard questions & giving Godly, scriptural advice. When you realize that your spouse might be acting in a way because of something from their childhood, you feel compassion for them filled with grace. We also talked about dealing with fear, what gets in the way of our spouses needs being met, how to confess, & lots more.

We all had some hurts & we all experienced some healing. Praise God.