Posts tagged Family
Road Trip! Many people hate piling in the car and staring at the road for hours on end, but I happen to enjoy it. Sure, flying is great at times, but road trips are conducive to great conversations and opportunities to reflect on life. It had been several years since we hopped in the car and drove across the country so my wife and I decided to drive to Atlanta this week, with our starting point being close to Houston. As we mapped out our route, we just so happened to notice that passing through West Monroe, Louisiana, was only about thirty minutes out of our way. What’s in West Monroe? Don’t you know? The bearded boys from Duck Dynasty, who else?
My wife and I began watching the show in season two, and quickly caught up by buying season one (which we watched in a night). We have been hooked ever since. We tune in every Wednesday night to see those friendly, fuzzed up faces.
When I stop to think about the show, it’s hard to say what drew me in to begin with. Sure it’s funny, but there are a lot of funny shows I don’t watch. I have never gone duck hunting (which I am not opposed to if anyone wants to give me an invite) a day in my life. I don’t even own a rifle. I have never even shot a deer, or at one for that matter. I really don’t even watch much television period, so it is interesting that I tune in faithfully every week this show airs. I even watch reruns from time to time, despite the fact that I own the seasons.
As we rolled up to Duck Commander, that’s the dynasty headquarters for those not sucked into the cult of duck yet, I was amazed. The facility wasn’t some huge corporate operation sprawled out over acres. It was a modest warehouse with some offices and a newly added gift shop. It is located right beside a small town car wash with some houses just down the road. To be honest, it looks smaller in person than on television. It is fascinating that the network, A & E, took a bet on the beards in the first place.
The gift shop opens at nine in the morning, and we arrived about eight-thirty. To my surprise, we were not the first ones there. We took some pictures while we waited for the gift shop to open. People continued to arrive by the minute. When the gift shop opened there were probably fifty people inside. The place was bustling with beard enthusiast by nine-thirty. I was amazed that this place attracted so many people.
This season, Duck Dynasty attracted an average of 8.4 million viewers per episode. It was the number one rated reality show this year. Just a bunch of guys, with beards, that make duck calls for a living. What is the appeal? It is something very simple, but so counter cultural that it almost elicits shock value. The success of Duck Dynasty is wrapped up in faith and family.
The show promotes a very family oriented lifestyle that flies in the face of our individualistic society. Each episode ends with the extended family sitting around a dinner table and some kind of moral is presented to tie the show together. There is also a healthy slice of faith served up with every episode.
It is my opinion that these two things, faith and family, are what pull people in (though Uncle Si’s antics also help). Why are people so drawn by these two things? Because it is what everybody wants. Who doesn’t want to have a close family? Most people want to find something that guides their life and instills a sense of purpose as well.
The sad fact is, much of our society is lacking in these two areas. So many people feel they can’t have what is seen in the lives of the Robertson’s, but they can. Anyone can have a life devoted to family and faith. Now this may be to varying degrees because, for many, the past plays a part in the present. Families don’t immediately change over night, but they can start the change process in a night. The Robertson family has what it has because it is willing to do what many people are unwilling to do, which is making faith and family a priority.
One of the cleanest shows on television right now is at the top. How does that happen? Because many people want to be a part of something good (not perfect). Maybe it also serves to show that there is a bigger desire for wholesome entertainment than some would have us think.
We were made for community. We find that fulfilled both vertically and horizontally. We need one another and we need God to feel fulfilled, have purpose, and be healthy. We long to be in community with God, family, and friends, whether we are cognizant of it or want to admit it. Somewhere, Duck Dynasty gives us a taste of what that feels like, and it feels nice.
We have to remember though, to have what most people don’t have, we have to do what most people don’t do. Invest in our families and make faith a priority, each of which require a certain amount of sacrifice, but the reward is worth the effort.
You were made for community. I was made for community. We were all designed with a void that only God and family can fill. How are you doing at filling your void?
Seek God. Invest in family. Live in community. Enjoy life. And if you want, grow a killer beard.
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Don’t you love holidays? Labor Day was nice last Monday. I had the day off to get ready for labor day today. That’s right, it is finally here. Actually, it got here much quicker than I had anticipated. Today around 12:30 P.M. we will be welcoming our new baby girl into this world, Hadley Brittland Fults. We are pretty excited, although, the overload of pink is certainly a change of pace. What have I gotten myself into? I can’t wait to find out.
In a very short time I will get to meet one of my new best friends. I will get to watch her grow. I am allowed the privilege to teach her about life, help her find her own way, and tell her about the Creator who gave her life in the first place. What a humbling responsibility and privilege.
Since I will be up to my neck in dirty diapers and late night feedings, I will not be writing as much as I usually do this week. I will certainly post tidbits here and there, and maybe a few pictures, of our brand new little girl. So feel free to check back for updates if you like. Since I knew I would be preoccupied this week, some other talented writers will be sharing their thoughts here throughout the week. I hope you enjoy what they have to say.
Please keep us in your prayers. To all of you who journey with me, read my thoughts, and share your own at times I want to say thanks for doing life with me.
“I wonder what sort of tale we have fallen into?” – J.R.R. Tolkien
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
So, your fingers are sort of a big deal. Did you know that? Bet you haven’t really considered that as of late, have you? Ask any three fingered man, and they will back me up on this. In fact, five out of five of three fingered men agree that the importance of phalanges is not to be minimized. I came to understand this harsh reality last night, and I am proud to proclaim that I really appreciate my fingers.
Yesterday evening, my wife and I were getting dressed to meet some friends for dinner. I went through my usual routine getting dressed. There was only one step left, throw on my watch and wedding band. The watch went on successfully; the ring did not! I had worked outside in the heat all day. In fact, several hours were spent working in my attic, which we refer to as the outer circle of hell. I did not make the connection that my fingers might be swollen and holding fluids from working in the heat. In my hurry to get ready so we could walk out the door, I rammed my ring down on my finger. It decided to get conveniently stuck on my knuckle. When I say stuck, I mean stuck; like sunk up to your neck in quicksand stuck. It would not budge off of my knuckle.
I thought to myself, “No big deal.” I went to the bathroom and ran it under cold water, added a little soap, and expected my ring to slide ride off. This did absolutely nothing for my cause. I started to notice my finger turn a deep red. My blood pressure spiked a little at this point. The most important thing in the world at that moment was for my ring to come off finger number three.
I decided to enlist the help of my wife. She brought me some cold ice water and baby oil. I soaked my finger in subfreezing water for about ten minutes and then tried the baby oil. All this was to no avail. My finger is moving from bright red to a reddish blue.
At this point my wife and I have a mini-meeting, and decide we should probably go to the emergency room. Neither of us could think of any other options. I would rather be punched in the face by ten large men than go to the ER. A couple of months ago I had a large gash in my forehead and refrained from going to the ER. For me to go to the ER on this short of notice should reveal the panic I could feel, not to mention that my finger is starting to throb in pain.
We call my parents and let them know we will drop of our son with them so we can go to the emergency room. When we pull up, my dad says, “Let me try to get that thing off.” We go inside and he says, “We have to squeeze the fluid out of your finger past the ring.” He then proceeds to grab my ring finger. He squeezes it tighter than any finger has ever been squeezed. He squeezed so hard that had he been milking a cow with this grip, it would have killed the cow. My dad is no small guy. In High School they called him “The Animal”. Sound’s intimidating, huh?
He keeps squeezing. I can literally feel the blood and fluid squeezing underneath the ring. I was concerned that his squeezing might force the fluid OUT of my finger instead of under the ring. It hurt so bad I almost threw up (don’t judge me punk).
Once the flood was gone, the ring slid down. He squeezed some more. I soaped up my finger and tried to slide it off. I was making progress at this point, all the while my dad is yelling in the background, “Get that ring off. Get it off. I said get it off boy.” Ahhhh. At last. Sweet victory. I could feel the blood rush back into my finger. I didn’t even have to sit at the ER for hours and pay hundreds. It was a moment of sweet victory.
That is how I really came to appreciate my fingers. Without that third finger where would I be? No more guitar playing. My typing would be hindered. My blog posts would take much longer to write. I would have to wear my ring on my right hand. Everyone would inquire why I was missing a finger, and I would have to tell them this stupid story. I never knew that finger was such a big deal, until I ran the risk of losing it. Okay, I know I wouldn’t have lost it, but I still came to really appreciate it.
How often do we go through life never realizing how blessed we are? What areas do we fail to appreciate? When was the last time that you thought, “Wow, I am incredibly blessed to have ________.” When was the last time you were thankful for your: health, family, wife, church, talents, salvation, job, home, friendships, fingers, etc?
Even though life is hard at times we still have so much to be thankful for. In fact, so often everything is amazing and we fail to notice it. What would happen if we stopped from time to time to give thanks for so many blessings that we so often fail to notice?
As Joni Mitchell (and Amy Grant and Counting Crows) use to croon, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you get ‘til it’s gone?” Let’s not wait for a crisis to force us to appreciate our blessings. Lets count them daily.
By the way, my finger still hurts.
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
What are you thankful for right now?
A newlywed couple returns from their honeymoon filled with excitement from the week. They unpack, recount the fresh memories they just made and begin to make the adjustment of having another person living in their space. As the days unfold, a curious thing begins to happen. The kitchen trash begins to overflow. No one takes it out. Instead, each partner wonders how long the other will wait before bringing it to the curb. As the days go by, the trash grows higher, and their apartment smells increasingly worse. Each thinks that the other is a bit of a slob. Finally, the wife approaches her husband and politely asks, “How long do you plan to wait before taking out the trash? The paint is peeling of the walls in the kitchen.” “Me?” He responds. “I thought taking out the trash was your responsibility.” In her family of origin her father brought the trash out, and in his family of origin his mother brought the trash out. Each figured it would work the same way in their marriage.
This is an example of an unspoken rule. We tend to create rules in our minds about the way certain things should operate without communicating them to others. Unspoken rules exist in every area of life, but especially in marriage. Sometimes, couples create their own unspoken rules and everyone follows them, usually because they have similar rules. At other times, each partner brings these unspoken rules into the marriage and then wonders why their spouse does not abide by them.
The reason our spouse does not abide by our unspoken rules is because they are….well…unspoken. This seems straightforward enough, but so often tension builds in relationships because the other person isn’t abiding by our set of unspoken rules. Most of the time, we don’t even realize we are doing this. We think it must be obvious that our spouse should just fall in line with our set of unspoken rules. After all, isn’t this the way everyone should conduct themselves?
Sometimes we confer to our spouse mind reading abilities that they do not have. They are not necessarily privy to how responsibilities were divided in our families growing up, who took on certain roles, or they way we think things should operate in the present.
A great deal of the time, these issues sort themselves out. As was the case with our newlywed friends, one can only stand so much trash piling up in the kitchen, so they had a discussion. But sometimes these things do not work themselves out, and one party just takes out the trash, feeling they are doing the other person’s duty. This then leaves room for on spouse to feel bitter or resentful toward the other. One just assumes the other is being lazy, selfish, or obstinate, when in reality, the other person believes things are running as they should be.
So what is the moral of the story? Your spouse cannot read your mind. You have to tell them when things are bothering you. You have to clue them in to your world. Just because they are not following the rules that exist in your mind that you have never told them does not mean they are trying to slight you or ruin your day. It could be that they just don’t know.
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
What were/are some of the unspoken rules you brought into your marriage?
Here were a few of mine (which were different than my wife’s):
-Weekends are for staying home, relaxing, and watching movies.
-Laundry should be divided in three separate hampers.
-Microwaves are for heating food, but also storing open containers of food.
-When someone “beeps in” while you are on the phone, you switch over.
Getting to work with couples and families, I often get a unique, behind-the-scenes look into the lives of families. At times, it is encouraging, often it is amusing, but frequently it is deeply saddening. No physical pain is as distressing as the emotional trauma that occurs within the confines of family. Our utmost joys and deepest sorrows revolve around our family life. To watch someone struggle within the marital or familial context is deeply disheartening, yet it has become commonplace to witness family turmoil on a daily basis.
As John MacArthur reminds us, “The family was God’s first earthly institution. Before there was a government, and long before God instituted the church, He ordained marriage and the family as the basic building block of society.” It is family structure that is the bedrock of society. It is crucial that we understand the reason we are witnessing such great amounts of upheaval in society can be traced to the breakdown of family structure.
A piece appeared in the LA Times back in the 1970’s called “The Battered Wife: What’s Being Done?” Perhaps this is a bit extreme, but it paints such a telling picture of the state of the modern family. Keep in mind, this was written in the 1970’s, things have only continued to spiral downward since.
“A study done by the University of Rhode Island described the American home as the most dangerous place to be, outside of riots and war. Although exact statistics are difficult to obtain, all the other available studies had echoed the same sad story…Thirty percent of all American couples experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime, and two million couples have used a gun, knife, or other lethal weapon on each other during their marriage. Twenty percent of all police officers killed in the line of duty are killed while answering calls involving family fights, and it’s estimated that anywhere from six to fifteen million women are battered in the United States each year! As one law officer expressed it: “This is probably the highest unreported crime in the country.”
It is disturbing to read that the home is one of the most dangerous places in America. It goes unsaid that when the family is experiencing issues to this magnitude, the emotional, psychological, and spiritual trauma are also there in abundance. It is also disheartening because we know that children that live in dysfunction and experience emotional, physical, spiritual and psychological abuse are considerably more likely to perpetuate the abuse within their own families.
There are many places where we might afford to withhold our undivided attention, but our families are not one of them. If we win anywhere, it must be in our homes. It is incredibly easy to be distracted and pulled in a million different directions, but statistics such as these should be incredibly sobering. We need not look very far to understand the importance of placing an extremely high priority on our families. Guard your marriage. Give your children the attention they need. Protect your home. Serve your family.
“Remember always that your work or ministry or position dare never keep you from your family. If you fail them, you fail your greatest responsibility – and you are a failure in life.” -Ted W. Engstrom
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
I absolutely love this time of year. The world seems to be softer and quieter during the few days that surround Christmas. The important things in life take precedence, as they should all year long. Families and friends enjoy time together. The birth of the King is celebrated, and His passion remembered. Today, my heart is brimming with love, joy, and peace. My mind is at rest. My stomach is holding more than it was designed to.
As all is right in my world, I am reminded that this is not so for everyone. For every child that is born, one is lost. For every full stomach, there are several empty. For every child that opens a present on Christmas, there will be plenty that have not known the pleasure of receiving a gift. For some, Christmas is a time of happiness, while others are stooped in despair. Many look on to the next year with excitement, and others dread. We never know where life will take us in a year. Things look up and turn down so quickly.
Life is spent vacillating between hope and hopelessness. Christmas is a time when many feel without hope. They go through the holiday motions, hurting, feeling an ache inside. Tragedy, death, pain, and loss do not set aside their cruelties for the holidays. I hope that this Christmas you find yourself blessed, excited, joyous, with a waltz in your heart, and a smile that cannot be hidden. Yet, I know there are plenty who feel contrary to joy this season, as they endure what life has served them.
Regardless of where we find ourselves, we should be reminded that Christmas is about hope. It is a celebration of hope. For unto us, a Child is born. Unto us, a Son has been given. Without the birth of Christ, we remain as dead men. With the death of Christ, we become alive. Apart from the cross, there can be no hope. Whether times are merry or filled with affliction, I pray we remember the Hope.
Is life difficult this Christmas? Remember the Hope.
Has there been loss? Remember the Hope.
Does your soul ache? Remember the Hope.
One day all will be set right. All tears will be dried. Joy will abound.
Merry Christmas. Remember the Hope
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
This will be my last original post for this year. I am content to end the year with the nice even number of 50 posts. Next week I will be celebrating with my family and enjoying the last remaining days of the year. I plan on re-posting the five most popular blogs of the year next week, then bring us a challenge for the new year after it rolls in! You can also now follow the blog on twitter @walkgood515
Thanks for you that read my thoughts and share your own. My wife gave me a really cool gift. She had all of my writings this year made into a book. It is really neat to flip through the pages and remember my thoughts! I find myself blessed this year! I Hope yours is too! Merry Christmas once again!
November is a great month to be on Facebook, because there is an abrupt change in people’s posting. There is less venting about daily frustrations and not as much negativity. Most everyone’s attention is oriented toward being thankful in November. Many people participate in posting something they are thankful for every day throughout the month on Facebook. Instead of listing something every day, I decided to give 25 things that I am thankful for all in one lump sum. Here is my gratitude list, in no particular order.
- I am thankful for the grace and love of God. He covers shortcoming after shortcoming.
- I am thankful for the wife God blessed me with. I do not deserve such a beautiful, fun, intelligent, and supportive woman. Thanks for putting up with me Dev. Thanks for forcing out a few laughs at my corny jokes. Thanks for putting up with me being in school and the time it takes. Thanks for being such a good mom and wife.
- I am thankful that I was able to celebrate Hayden’s one year birthday party last week. His life has been one of my greatest blessings.
- I am thankful for two wise, supportive, and encouraging parents. Thanks for loving me even when I am crosswise. Thanks for bringing me up when I am down. Thanks for loving God and people better than anyone else I know.
- I am thankful for a great church community. Everyone I am privileged to worship with is a blessing to my heart.
- I am thankful for my dog, Jacksie (who is named after C.S. Lewis’ dog). She loves me even when I feel unlovable. Always greets me with enthusiasm. She watches movies with me and snuggles with me at any given second.
- I am thankful for some time off this week. It was much needed. I haven’t been able to rest like I have this week in quite a while.
- I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for those that live close, whom I see on a regular basis, and those that live afar. I am thankful for those friends I don’t see often who stay in touch. I am thankful for friends who pick back up right where you left off when it has been a long time since you last talked.
- I am thankful for being able to preach God’s word. I am thankful that God would use me.
- I am thankful I can help people work through their difficulties in life.
- I am thankful for the people that read these blogs and sometimes share them with others. Thanks for interacting with me. Thanks for letting me share my life with you and giving me insight into yours as well.
- I am thankful that I was able to be a part of sharing 187 meals with our community yesterday. I am blessed to be a part of Trout Creek. I am thankful for a church that loves people.
- I am thankful to be in school studying Theology. It is a blessing to learn more about God and to get to share what I learn.
- I am thankful for this time of year. I love the holidays, the cold, the smells, the short days, Christmas trees, giving, Christmas music, hot chocolate, and time with family.
- I am thankful that God always has a plan. That He is sovereign. That He knows how He will respond to my prayers before I ask.
- I am thankful that I have gotten to play a video game all week, late at night, that I have been playing since I was 5 years old. 25 years of Zelda. It was a treat that it came out this week.
- I am thankful for our new Air Conditioner, that I needed in the middle of November.
- I am thankful for a date with my wife last night. It was lovely to be with you. Seeing Cirque Du Soleil was a blast.with you. I laughed every time you said, “do you see that?”. Sorry that there were no restaurants open besides McDonalds. I am also sorry that McDonalds drowned our chicken sandwiches with a mountain of mayonnaise.
- I am thankful that I was able to reconnect with someone I have missed this month.
- I am thankful for the warm, cozy bed I am sitting in right this moment.
- I am thankful for people that have inspired me, taught me, and spoken wisdom into my life.
- I am thankful my whole family is healthy.
- I am thankful for all the good cooks in my family. Therefore, I am thankful for all the food that makes me fat this time of year.
- I am thankful for books. I love being able to read and learn new things.
- I am thankful for being reminded to be thankful. Thanks to the people in my life that remind me how blessed I am. I am blessed beyond measure. I have more than I deserve.
I truly hope that you and your loved ones have had a blessed week. Life is truly good. Let’s remember to continue being thankful.
What are you most thankful for this week?
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.