Category Archives: Family

Living in a house full of men (and boys) is like traveling in a foreign country. I can learn the language and culture, but it never makes complete sense to me. During some nostalgic or bewildering moments, I feel the need to blog about it. Just to see if I’m sane.

3 reasons you should visit a cemetery

This past week, only days after Memorial Day, I ironically found myself attending 2 funerals and visiting 2 cemeteries. I listened to Taps from a Marine bugle, I watched a flag being folded and unfolded by 2 solemn officers, and I straightened plastic flowers at several grave sites. 

This weekend marked my most profound visit to a cemetery to date. I stood over the graves of both my parents. It’s not something you anticipate having to do until your 60s, but I’ve already done it. Then I stood over the graves of my grandparents, uncles, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents.

And I could hear my mom’s voice in my head saying,

“Don’t walk on the graves. Walk in between them. See the space between the headstones? Follow that when you walk.”

“Read the stones. Someone lived a full life, and this is how they are remembered.”

Mom was religious about instilling in us a respect for the dead because, after having been widowed at 31, she was acutely aware of the value of life.

As I ambled through the Illinois cemetery, I reflected on its role in culture. With the current popularity of cremation, I wondered if cemeteries will one day become obsolete? What value, if any, do they hold for life? My own experience has supplied me with three reasons you should visit a cemetery. I will share them with you, on the premise that you will one day find yourself standing over the granite stone of a loved one. Continue reading

What I’m thinking about this Memorial Day

Most people I know are happy about Memorial Day, There’s no school, no work, and probably some beach or pool time. They throw burgers on the grill and spend time in the sun.

But that’s not what I’m thinking about on Memorial Day.

I think about a naval surveillance aircraft, the Lockheed SP2E-Neptune, that takes off for a mission through the Santa Ana Mountains of California one rainy February night in 1969.

Seven crew from the nation’s heartland miss their wives and children back home, yet they are tense with anticipation.

These aviators crave flight. The thrust, the power, the roar of four engines and the spinning propeller course in their veins like an electric current.

The controller sends the coordinates, and the heavy Neptune lifts into the furious dark. Rain assaults the aircraft like driving sheets of metal hammering against its flanks. Walls of water hedge the aircraft as it steers through the black of night.

The coordinates lead the Neptune into Modeskja Canyon at an altitude of 3,000 feet.

But aviators don’t fly into canyons. They navigate from high to low, not low to high. This canyon is no place for a huge aircraft. Somehow, the coordinates are wrong. Continue reading

8 ways to transfer faith to your kids

I doubt if any Christian parent wants to “shove religion down the throat” of his child. But sometimes, we’re not sure how to get our kids to want to go to church or read their Bibles or have spiritually-stimulating conversations. We take them regularly, we buy them Bibles, and yet . . . . nothing.

What’s a Christian parent to do?

Try a new church? This may solve the problem or it may instigate a routine of church-shopping or staying home on Sunday. I don’t know. Every situation and family is different, but always looking for a new church or better youth group might just give your child a consumer mentality. Regardless of your church, all Christian parents can begin reaching the heart of their children for the Lord at home, on a regular basis.

God must have expected parents to do this because He commanded the Israelites with these instructions: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deut. 6:7)

God instructed his people to passionately and earnestly appeal to the hearts of the children, to talk about God–who He is, and what He does. he asked them to make their relationship with Him the center of their lifestyle. Not an add-on. Not a Sunday thing. The center. The source for everything else.

So how do we “impress” our kids without forcing outward obedience and inward rebellion? We teach them to love God and love what He loves. Kids’ hearts are soft and moldable, and they respond to love. Expose their hearts to the real power of God at work–to authentic believers and humble servants of God. Then let the Holy Spirit woo them. He’s really good at that. Put your kids in a place to hear, and let God speak to them (they’re so much better at hearing His voice that adults are!). And be careful not to overload their lives with so much activity that they can’t hear God speak and don’t have time to go someplace where He will speak. Continue reading