I am now the dad of a two-year old. I try to avoid the term, “terrible twos” and give my kid the benefit of the doubt. But a few nights this week, that term seemed more appropriate than not. Rea was ornery, angry, disobedient, and downright mean. In Mud Creek, we’d say she was being a “cantankerous heifer.” On two occasions when she was willfully disobedient (one of which involved physical pain on my end), I had to spank her. Naturally, she cried a little bit. I picked her up, held her close, sat in my chair. I had her in my lap facing me and explained to her why she couldn’t fuss and hit things or hurt people when she got angry. I explained why her mom and I have to discipline her when she does wrong. Basically, I had an adult conversation with a 2-year old.
As these things happen (and will continue to happen), I find myself asking the same old question: Does she even get what I’m saying to her? We know she listens to things because language is developed aurally. She didn’t learn to say words like “mommy,” “daddy,” “Dee,” “noodle,” or “water” because she read them and sounded them out. She listened and finally picked up on them. This gives us great caution as parents to watch what we say and make sure that nothing toxic comes out of our mouths lest our children hear and say likewise.
I know that when I was younger, when my parents were giving instruction after I’d received discipline, the last thing I wanted to do was listen to them. My butt was hurting and that’s all I could think about! But here I am, in my parents’ shoes now, trying to impart some wisdom to my own kids and wondering if they’re thinking the same thing. However, it does bring me some comfort to know that my child wants to hug me and sit with me even after she’s been disciplined. That’s something I hope never changes.
So does she get it? Maybe a little bit. At least I know she understands some of the words coming out of my mouth.
Monday of last week was so busy that I completely forgot about Wins & Losses. Here’s two weeks worth for ya…
- After two rough weeks of choir practice (which was at least 51% my fault), I was excited to have two great rehearsals back-to-back. Stuff got done, songs were performed with grace and professionalism, and each rehearsal ended with our hearts & minds turned toward heaven. Though ministry can have its rough spots from time to time, its moments like these that make me grateful for what I do. I’m so glad God’s grace lets me do this.
- Organizing a music library is no small task around here. With nearly 250 titles (not counting instrumental pieces), that one room alone is enough to overwhelm even the strongest body. I’d made a decent start on it last September, but quickly got bogged down with more important tasks. Two canceled meetings gave me a good enough reason to head back over there and pick up where I left off. What I thought would take weeks (if not months) of work, turned out to be a task completed in just under a week. There was stamping, hole punching, throwing away, label making, taping, scanning, PDF splitting, and plenty of Excel. My inner secretary was on a high. It was so satisfying to have it all organized in a way that I understand and can use for a long time. I’m happy to have a large section of my desk free of anthem stacks now!
- Two weeks ago, we tuned in to Fox News (a rarity around our house) for a special on The Story with Martha McCallum. An old family friend named Daniel Ritchie was on the show giving his take on the recent abortion measures being undertaken in New York and Virginia. He was born with no arms and after he was born not breathing, the doctors asked his parents if they wanted them to revive him. By the grace of God, his parents immediately responded in the positive, leading Daniel to live a life telling others about not only his physical saving, but his eternal saving through Jesus Christ. He was able to share this compassionately on national television and I couldn’t have been prouder. I received his first book My Affliction for His Glory last summer for my birthday and I highly encourage all of you to consider purchasing it.
- We celebrated Rea’s birthday with a Tangled party on President’s Day. A host of family came into town and we were able to celebrate with them and many friends from church. It was fun watching Rea interact with friends she’s known for less than a year, but you can tell she loves them as if they were all siblings. We enjoyed spending time with our parents and grandparents and I know the girls did as well. We properly celebrated on Rea’s actual birthday with a cupcake with a fish on it and she LOVED it. It’s been a great two years with our first girl and we’re excited for the years to come.
- A strange bout of sickness has invaded. Becca has been dealing with nausea, I had a major headache and some nausea over a weekend, Rea and K both were sickly for a spell, and our extended family suffered the worst of it. We’re not exactly sure what it is or from where it came. But whatever it is and from wherever it came, it needs to go back!
- While it was a passing score, I was a little disappointed to receive an B on my first book report for my seminary class. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect since I barely understood the book I read anyway, but my grade in the class remains high and for that I am grateful.
- We’re all tired of the rain. And though us Georgians may be tired of it, I know my friends and family in West/Middle Tennessee have certainly had their fill. I’ve been seeing images of a flooded Tennessee River and it is worse than I’ve ever seen it before. I have old friends who have had to leave their river homes because the waters have gotten so high. We all need a little sunshine and not just to give us a break from the rain.
Yesterday, I did something a little different.
Regretfully, I have commemorated MLK Day each year by just enjoying a day off work or school. I knew not to go to the bank or expect any mail that day. I may have shared a quote from the civil rights leader on social media, but that was the extent of it. But as I was preparing lunch for my daughter yesterday, I heard music and saw a group of my black neighbors walking down the street behind our house. I knew what the occasion was and assumed they would make their way to Main Street. I tweeted a quick little diddy about how glad I was that they had the freedom to do what they were doing.
As I finished up my lunch break and walked back towards my office, I could see that the group had gathered at the courthouse, also near my office. Rather than going straight back to work, I decided to join them. I walked on over and listened to them sing. I then listened to a local minister read from the book of Acts and call his listeners and his county to come together. He mentioned how we have black/white churches, black/white ministers, and even black/white cemeteries and funeral homes. He recognized it and asked his people, Why?” There was nothing disparaging about anyone there or not there. He reminded his listeners that God created all of us equally. One of the best points he made was that Dr. King did not just fight so that black Americans could have civil rights…he fought so everyone would have the same rights, regardless of their race or ethnicity. And my favorite quote of his message was that we “should never look down on another person unless you’re reaching down to help him up.” Never once did I feel out of place, though I think I was one of two white people in attendance. After the message, another local minister got the mic and led the group in a call-and-response song. The song spoke of God’s faithfulness in how He’d brought His children a “long, long way.” I did have to leave near the end of the song, but I was sure glad I went.
Not long after I got to my office, they continued their march right past my building. My pastor and I went out to greet them and hugged one of the local ministers who was leading them in a chant as they marched. I couldn’t help but grin knowing that these people genuinely want to see their hometown come together and lay all of our petty differences aside.
For the rest of the day, I did a few things: 1) I kicked myself for not going to an MLK gathering before, 2) I made sure that I didn’t plan anything for next year so I could join them for the entirety of the celebrations, and 3) I reflected on these neighbors of mine and wondered how I can carry on Dr. King’s legacy where I live. Maybe we should all think like that.