The Land of Boys

Learning to live in a house full of testosterone

Archive for the tag “Mark”

If We Don’t Laugh, We Might Cry

A few days ago, Mark and I were in the car, ALONE, which is very unusual. We used the time to talk about a serious matter. Death. Neither of us are dying, soon, that we know of. We do talk about it every now and then. Death is going to happen to all of us one day. There is no sense in being unprepared when it happens.

Both of us happen to think that sending flowers to the funeral home and decorating graves is somewhat wasteful. We do it for other people, but when we die, we don’t want people to feel like they have to spend their money on flowers. Don’t get me wrong, we have nothing against flowers. We like them. It just seems silly for people to buy us flowers when we are not there to enjoy them. Our bodies may very well be lying there, but we will not be.

1 Corinthians 5:8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

“At home with the Lord. ” Can you imagine what that would be like? We would be seeing things that are much more enjoyable than flowers. Think about it: Gates of pearl, streets of gold, walls of jewels. The building materials there are things we think of as precious and valuable here. But really that is not the most valuable thing about about being in Heaven. Can you imagine seeing God in all His glory and splendor? Seeing the hands that took the nails on the cross? The mere thought of that makes flowers pale in comparison.

So anyway, while we were in the car Mark was saying that if he went first he knew I might want to visit his grave occasionally. He said, “Don’t worry about putting flowers on it a few time a year, for special occasions or anything. Just stop on your way home to have a burger and think of me. ”

I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing at that one. That is how my dear husband thinks he will be best remembered. Slabs of beef, fried or flame broiled, in a bun. Don’t forget the ketchup!

A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.~ Proverbs 15:13


Advice For Those Who Have To Deal With Pesky Computerized Customer Service Calls

I really hate calling somewhere and hearing “Press ___ for ______……“. The only thing worse is getting a voice recognition computer. Sometimes those things are good. More often than not, however, they are more trouble than they are worth. They are especially bad if you have a southern accent. Southern accents seem to not be well-recognized. ;-} One time I was getting so frustrated I was actually yelling into the phone. Mark had a funny idea. He said when prompted to say something I should say, “A big acorn level fluh,” loud and clear into the phone. If you are wondering he came up with THAT one, it comes form the movie Chicken Little. Chicken Little has been hit on the head by something he thinks is a piece of the sky. No one is believing him. People, er, animals are all around him, asking him questions. They see an acorn fall and decide that what hit him was just an acorn. He is so distraught that all he can do is mumble “A big acorn level fluh….” at them.

So  recently I had to call the AT&T cell phone store. I called the local store, not a nationwide 800 number. Guess what I got? A stinking computer!! One that wanted to know if I was calling about home phone, cell phone, internet service, or cable. Do you know what I did? I said, “A big acorn level fluh,” right into their computer.  Know what else? It worked!! The computer said, “I am sorry. I am having trouble understanding you. Let me connect you to a customer service representative.” I have to admit, it did make me smile. I got what needed to be done much more quickly than if I had kept answering the mind-numbing questions they were asking of me. So now, I am sharing my husband’s good advice with the rest of the world. Try it! See if it works for you! It just might brighten your day as much as it did mine.

Ordinations, Battleships and Dinosaurs, Oh My!

Several weeks ago, Mark got a phone call (or maybe an email or text, I can’t remember) that made him feel really honored. His buddy Chris was asking him to preach at Chris’s ordination service. Wow. An ordination only happens once, so getting to be a part of it is a very big deal. The service happened to be at Chris’s church, which incidentally happened to be in Mobile, over 300 miles from home. So, we decided to make it into a fun weekend getaway for the whole family.  I got online, found out some fun stuff to do and found a hotel with a suite that could accommodate our family.  Our plans looked a bit like this: Saturday: visit the USS Alabama (WWII Battleship and submarine); Sunday: attend Christ Fellowship Church in the morning, come back to the hotel, hang out, maybe go to the pool, then go to Crawford Baptist that evening for the service; Monday: See the Exploreum (hands on science museum ) and go to the beach.  Something each day, but not so much as to be worn out.  Looked like a very promising vacation.

Friday: packing day

  • first order of business, Samuel’s suitcase. This kid would wear nothing but flannel, corduroy, and sweats. So, I packed his suitcase without him nearby. I was determined he would wear shorts part of the time, at least. I did pack flannel to sleep in. I am not a total meanie.
  • Next, the other brothers. They are old enough to at least help out. Although, Benjamin had to be reminded to pack underwear, pjs and more than one change of clothes.  Nathaniel did better, he only had to be reminded to pack his water shoes.
  • Mom and Dad: with Mark preaching we needed to pack a  suit.  I did not want it to be crushed in the suitcase with everything else, so I used our garment bag. It was perfect for his suit, shoes, shirt, belt, two ties, my dress and shoes. So then I hang it the living room closet and go on to other things. I got my bag packed and then we packed his. He did not want to wear his suit all day, so he packed a pullover and some khakis for the morning service.

One little hitch in our getalong: When Mark told the boys it was time to get ready to go jogging, Nathaniel goes into his suitcase to get out a pair of shorts for jogging.  (This kid has hit a rapid growth spurt. None of his shorts from last year are long enough. We have found 2 pairs this year that are long enough, but not too big around. So instead of jogging around the church parking lot in some that are a little short, he got the ones for the trip out. GRRRR) So that meant laundry to do after showers. Not that big of a deal. I put two baskets in front of the hamper, one for lights and one for darks. I told the boys to put their clothes in those instead of the hamper. Got the laundry washed and dried (or at least in the dryer) before going to bed.  Also before going to bed, I put every kind of medicine I could think of into plastic bags, as well as toiletry items. I then put post-its on the computer so I would not forget things like toothbrushes and toothpaste in the morning.

Saturday: heading out

  • 3:30 am- the alarm goes off. Ugh. Really glad I made muffins the night before, because I definitely do not feel like cooking breakfast this early. All the little things get packed then Mark loaded up the car. We take the muffins with us to eat on the way.  Shorts were not in the basket that I got out of the dryer. Turns out he put them in the hamper instead of the basket. Head out with just one pair of shorts for Nathaniel.
  • Start down the road, Mark realizes that I did not pack his razor. Stop by Wal-Mart to get a new one.
  • Get on I-65 South at exit 250. Keep going to exit 3.  Not too exciting.
  • Get to hotel at 10:30. Room is not ready. Staff says they will get it ready in about and hour and a half. We go to eat lunch.
  • After lunch, we decide to head on over to the Battleship. It was awesome! It is a trip I highly recommend if you happen to be in the southern Alabama/ North Florida region.

The battleship

the boys in the mess hall

Mark and the boys in front of a flag

The boys and me on the top of the USS Drum Submarine

  • Go to our hotel.  It was so relaxing.
  • 3:30 pm- look at our luggage and realize that the hanging bag is not there. Almost cry, but that is not any good. Get ready to head back to Guntersville, then come up with a hair-brained scheme that just might work. Call my mother and see if she would be willing to go to my house, get the bag, and meet us in Birmingham. (We had to see if someone could go to our house and let them in first) She agreed to do it, and even come all the way to Clanton.  Not only that, but they are going to do it early enough that we can still make it to church to see Steve Lawson preach.
  • Meet our buddy Chris at a Mexican Restaurant and have dinner. Go back to hotel and get in bed early.

Sunday: the big day

  • Get up extremely early to get the bag. Not fun. boys are sleeping in the backseat. Mom and Dad are struggling hard to stay awake in the front. We have to go to exit 208. From exit 3. So round trip it was around 400 miles. We did not make it to church that morning. Steve Lawson denied!!!
  • Get back to hotel. Lay down for a little while, then get up, eat lunch and take the boys to the pool and hot tub. Nobody else was there so the boys had the whole thing to themselves.
  • 1:30 we went back to the room to get ready.
  • Showered, dressed and left to go to Chris’s church. The ordination council had to meet at 4:00, the service started at 6:00. So we had a long time to sit. The boys did some drawing during that time. I had a little nap.
  • Service was wonderful. Crawford Baptist is a loving church that made us feel very welcome.
  • Went back to the hotel and crashed.


  • Slept late, we did not get up until after 6:30!!!
  • Had breakfast, asked the hotel attendant how long it takes to get to the beach. She told us which beach would be the best for our family, and even wrote the directions down for us.
  • Started to the Exploreum Museum, realized how late it would be if we went to the museum and the beach. Decided to skip the beach and go back another day so we can spend more time at the museum.

Mark and the boys in front of a dino display

Riding a T-Rex

We had a wonderful time at the museum. It was very informative. We came home tired. Have decided that next time we go anywhere, we will have a very detailed list taped to the door and mark off everything as it is being taken out. On a funny note, I took a personality test to find my Star Wars twin several years ago. I came out to match up with Grand Moff Tarkin. This is the guy who is responsible for designing the Death Star. He took care of so many teeny tiny details, but overlooked the huge security threat that made it possible for Luke Skywalker et al to get in and blow it up. Hm… maybe those goofy internet quizzes are on to something after all. I take two kinds of chapstick, but forget to make sure that the most important bag is carried.

The Awesome Sermon I Had To Miss

I work in Children’s Church on Sunday mornings. Overall, it is something I love. There are times where the kids are a handful, but it really makes me happy when they remember something from several weeks prior, or you can really see the lights come on when they learn something. The downside to being in Children’s Church is that I am not in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings hearing the sermon. Most of the time it does not bother me too badly, since I don’t know in advance what the sermon is on. However, Mark preached this past week, so I knew what the sermon was, and that it was going to be very good. I hated to have to miss it. I thought about asking someone else to cover Children’s Church, but I knew I could get the sermon outside of Sunday morning, whereas others could not. I am posting a few things from his sermon, because I think they are really good and would like to share them with the rest of the world that didn’t get to hear it.

He preached from Hebrews 12:1-2. He also read Hebrews 11. After reading the scripture he addressed the congregation.

Where are the young people like Abel, who desire to please God? Where are the men like Enoch, who walk with God instead of the world? Where are the believers like Noah, who will take a stand for God even if it means they will stand alone? Where are the senior adults like Abraham, who leave a life of comfort at the age of 75 to follow God’s instructions, not knowing where God will take them? Where are the believers like Abraham, who are looking for a city built by God instead of what the world has to offer? Where are the women like Sarah who finally begin to trust God to fulfill His promises? Where are the parents like Abraham, who offer up their children to the Lord, knowing that He knows what’s best for them? Where are the fathers like Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph who live and die trusting in God and teaching their children to do the same? Where are the believers like Moses, who choose to suffer persecution with God’s people instead of enjoying the passing pleasures of sin and who consider the reproach of Christ to be greater riches than the treasures of the world? Where are the women like Rahab, who is more concerned with serving God and caring for His people instead of living a life focused on herself like all the other women around her?

Where are believers like the apostles in Acts 5, who after being flogged for sharing the Gospel, rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer shame for Christ and kept right on teaching and preaching Christ? Where are the Christians like the believers in Acts 8, who after being put in prison and run off from their homes, kept preaching the Word wherever they went? Where are the believers like the apostles, who were willing to suffer persecution and death for the sake of Christ?

Where are the believers like Paul?  He was able to say, “Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.”

Where are the believers like William Tyndale? He was sentenced to death for translating the New Testament into English. He was strangled to the point of death and then burned at a stake. As he was burning he cried out, “Lord! Open the king of England’s eyes!”

Where are the believers like Martin Luther? He was on trial for preaching salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. During his trial he was asked if he would recant the books he had written and the positions he had taken. Luther responded, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason, I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.”

Where are the believers like Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer? They were on trial for preaching the clear teachings of the Word of God. As they were being tied to the stake before they were burned to death, Latimer said, “Be of good cheer, Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day, by God’s grace, light up such a candle in England, as I trust will never be put out.”

Where are the believers like John Bunyan? They told John Bunyan to quit preaching, but he said ‑ I cannot quit preaching because God has called me to preach.  And they said ‑ If you preach we’ll put you in prison.  And so he said to himself ‑ If I go to prison who cares for my family? But how can I close my mouth when God has called me to preach? And so he committed his family to the care of God and was obedient to the call of God and preached, and they put him in prison.  And since then he’s blessed millions of families because it was there that he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress. Listen to what he said:  “The parting with my wife and poor children hath often been to me in this place, as the pulling of the flesh from my bones; and that not only because I am somewhat too fond of these great mercies, but also because I should have often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries, and wants that my poor family was like to meet with, should I be taken from them, especially my poor blind child, who lay nearer my heart than all I have besides.  O the thought of the hardship I thought my blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces…But yet, recalling myself, thought I, I must venture all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you; O I saw in this condition, I was a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his wife and children; yet thought I, I must do it, I must do it.”

Where are the believers like Henry Martyn? He went to India and spent the rest of his life there.  Already in India he had done more than his share of missionary service when he announced that he was going to go to Persia because God had laid it upon his heart to translate the New Testament and the Psalms into the Persian language. By then he was an old man. They told him that if he stayed in India he would die because of the heat.  And then they told him that Persia was hotter than India.  But he went anyway. He studied the Persian language, then translated the entire New Testament and the Psalms in nine months.  And then he was told that he couldn’t print it or circulate it until he received the Shah’s permission.  So he traveled 800 miles to Tehran, and he was denied permission to see the Shah.  He turned around and made a 400 mile trip to find the British ambassador.  The ambassador gave him the proper kinds of papers and so forth and sent him back to the Shah.  And so he traveled another 400 miles…that makes l600 miles.  He rode this at night on the back of a mule, and rested during the daytime…protected only by a strip of canvas from the sweltering desert heat. He finally arrived and was received by the Shah who gave him permission for the Scriptures to be printed and circulated in Persia. Ten days later he died.  But shortly before he had written in his diary this statement:  “I sat and thought with sweet comfort and peace of my God.  In solitude my Companion, my Friend, and Comforter.” He didn’t live a life of ease, but it was a life worth remembering.

John Knox, on his knees for lost souls in the little country of Scotland pleaded with God and said, “Give me Scotland or I die.” Hudson Taylor as a young man looked across the thousands of miles to the unreached multitudes of China and cried out to God, “I feel that I cannot go on living unless I do something for the lost in China.” Henry Martyn after landing in India said, “Here I am in the midst of heathen, midnight and savage oppression, now my dear Lord let me burn out for Thee.”

Why does American Christianity look so different than Christianity in the New Testament and in Church History? Christianity from the New Testament and Church History is splattered with blood, sweat, and tears. American Christianity sounds more like this:

Luke 9:23 says, “And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and watch television. That’s what Christians do now.

Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and play on the computer. That’s what Christians do now.

Luke 10:2 says, “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and play video games. That’s what Christians do now.

1 Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and complain about how long the sermon was. That’s what Christians do now.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and talk on the phone and text message. That’s what Christians do now.

2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and take a nap. That’s what Christians do now.

1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and act and talk just like the world. That’s what Christians do now.

James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and try to think of something to do so I won’t be bored. That’s what Christians do now.

James 1:22 says, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”

Me? I go to church, the pastor preaches, I go home and do nothing. That’s what Christians do now.

Are You Wielding Your Own Sword, Or Borrowing From Someone Else?

I have been reading Desiring God by John Piper. Can I just say that Piper is awesome??? I first read When I Don’t Desire God and loved it. It made me want more of his writing. (I know I can read lots of his stuff on his website. Call me old-fashioned, but I really like books, the kind with pages.) So, imagine my surprise when I found a store in Guntersville that had Desiring God for ONLY $5.00!!!!!! I was little girl giddy!!!

This book has been eye-opening, inspiring, uplifting and toe-stomping, all at the same time. Just when I think it has gotten as good as it can possibly get, it gets better. The whole premise of the book is being a Christian Hedonist. I don’t really like the term hedonist. The image that comes to mind in my head of a hedonist is not a Christian. The way he explains it though is that our ultimate joy should come from God. God should be what we desire. (Hence the name Desiring God) Piper even says you don’t have to like the term to be one. Touche.

He has chapters on several different aspects of the Christian Hedonist lifestyle. One such chapter is titled Scripture: Kindling for Christian Hedonism. Piper writes:

Satan’s number-one objective is to destroy our joy of faith. We have one offensive weapon: the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6: 17). But what many Christians fail to realize is that we can’t draw the sword from someone else’s scabbard. If we don’t wear it, we can’t wield it. If the Word of God does not abide in us (John 15: 7), we will reach for it in vain when the enemy strikes. But if we do wear it, if it lives within us, what mighty warriors we can be! “I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (1 John 2: 14).

Wow. Those were toe-stomping words to me. I am so guilty of saying, “Maaaaaaarrrrrrk!! Where’s the verse about_____________? Or “Where’s a verse that goes along with _____________? Mark has actually asked me if I thought he has the whole Bible memorized. (maybe he does not have it all memorized, but he does have a lot!)

We have somewhat of a strange relationship. I remember doctor’s appointments, phone numbers, useless trivia, things of that nature. He remembers all the important stuff. He can remember sermons from when we were teenagers. So he’ll come to me and ask for the doctor’s phone number, I’ll ask him what verse should go along with my children’s message. It kind of works. I say kind of, because sometimes I need a certain verse and he’s not around. Or it is not prudent to ask. Like if we are in public and someone makes me mad or hurts my feelings and I want to retaliate with something meaner than what they said but I know there is a verse about not taking vengeance for ourselves (Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written,Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:9 {Mark is not here,btw, I found it by myself!!}) Or, this is even more important than just remembering something for a lesson or to keep me from sinning: Sometimes people come to me needing help or advice. If I do not have God’s word abiding in me, I can’t help them. If I do not know what God says on a subject, I am very liable to tell someone the wrong thing. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19 (once again, I read this on my own tonight, no help) I do not want to be guilty of giving bad advice. I do not want to to lead someone into sin because I was not studied.

I have been reading more of the Bible. Sometimes it is tough to find quiet time. Do not disturb signs don’t seem to work around here. Whether  I have to stay up late, or get up early, or even both, it is worth it. This morning everything seemed to go awry. The boys were whiney, they did not want to do their schoolwork. It was one of those days where nothing went right. I had promised Mark that some challah and Annemarie cookies would be waiting for when him he got up. My intention was to get a certain amount of school done, mix the challah, have lunch, then bake the cookies and wake up Mark. HA! The challah dough was an icky, sticky mess. The lunch got got eaten at 2:00. Mark got up around 2:00. So I went to make the cookies. I got out two sticks of butter, softened them in the microwave and went about getting the other ingredients out.  Oops, I had used all the brown sugar for the Dutch Baby I made for breakfast. (not that it was enough to make the cookies anyway)   At this point, not even half of the school day had been done, no cookies and I was not sure how the bread was going to be. Oh, and I had forgotten to get the chicken out of the freezer until maybe 11:00, so it was still frozen hard as a brick. I was ready to just cry. Mark said he would stop by to get some brown sugar on the way home in morning and why don’t we just order pizza. Then he starts talking about how he really likes his new Bible reading plan that he has started. I said I liked it, too…only I didn’t actually read this morning. Hm…. it hit me then. My day goes much more smoothly when I begin with the Word. What happened today? I didn’t get up late. I didn’t spend hours in the kitchen making some elaborate breakfast. But nothing went according to plans. I need to make sure that God has first place in my life. I need to be a Christian Hedonist. I don’t have to like the term or even use it, I just need to treasure God above all else and let everything else just fall into place. Otherwise, my life spins out of control in mass chaos.  Here’s a funny video that Mark says describes me:

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