Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bargain Boggan

On the sultry summer day in August, the toboggan did not seem nearly as practical. But foreseeing the winter months of Northeastern Pennsylvania on the horizon, we knew it was a yard-sale gem. Furthermore, the sellers seemed to have been looking for the ideal buyers. Their children having grown, their faces lit up when they saw me with several of the boys eying the sled. They were obviously visualizing another generation of winter fun becoming a a reality with this man and his sons on their toboggan. I asked the price of the sled, and they practically gave it to me, charging me a minimal ammount so as to allow me to preserve my dignity. We left smiling and chattering over the fun we would soon have on our four-seater. It has not let us down, as countless times we have glided down the hill behind our house. Tonight, the conditions being just right, the sled practically flew as we took turns decending. Those who did not go would stay at the bottom and build big mounds of snow for us to blast through and get "white-out" faces at the end of each run. Yard sale 'boggan' = $10. Memories and fun with my sons = priceless.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Love Languages

A number of years ago Tammy and I read a book called "Love Languages". In it the author theorized that different people tend to communicate love and feel loved in different ways. They went on to describe a number of "love languages", of which each of us presumably has a primary one. They included gift-giving, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation. It made a lot of sense, and explained things like why my Tammy and I may not always be on the same wave-length when it comes to giving and receiving love. I think Tammy's language is "acts of service" and "gifts", probably the two I tend to be the weakest in. So, I have to learn to "dwell with her according to knowledge", as the Bible says, and purpose to exercise these more consistently. In so doing, I will, in the illustration from the book, keep her "love tank" more full. My languages are more along the lines of quality time and words of affirmation ... you guessed it, the two Tammy does not necessarily have a tendency towards! To her, talk is cheap, so SHOW me through ACTIONS ... to me, actions are good, and gifts are OK, but I would prefer to see that she DESIRES to spend dedicated time with me, and HEAR her express that she values me. So, it is interesting how God made us unique in our personalities, and how He can teach us to love another in a selfless manner as we learn what the other enjoys and values even if it does not always coincide with our ways. This past couple of days I had the opportunity to "fill my tank" as I felt like my wife desired to get away with me and spend some time with just me. During our get-away to Niagra Falls, we talked and we laughed, and we walked hand in hand, and I sensed that my wife valued me as she was willing to take time away from her many "activities" and give me "quality time". Now, I need to continue to intentionally find ways to communicate to here that I care in a "language" that speaks uniquely to her heart.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Wonderful Age

As the boys are growing up, each "stage" is special, and uniquely interesting and fun. Learning to walk, and talk, getting out of diapers, starting school, learning how to ride bike, being able to hit a baseball, losing teeth, using the lawn mower, swinging an axe, voices changing, growing "peach fuzz" the list goes on and on. Then come the "dreaded" teen years. We now have 2, almost 3 teenagers, and are qualified to weigh in with our own experiential opinion on these years. And, in my opinion, they are the best "stage" so far. I am able to have substantial, intelligent, meaningful conversations with them. We are able to do hard work together. We can share things we are learning in our walk with the Lord with each other. We do church ministry together. They help us mentor the younger children, and so much more. We are so thankful that the teens years do not have to be miserable stretches of contention and apathy, but can rather be the reaping of keeping the hearts of your children in close and deepening relationship. We do not have to concede as being "normal" that young people will go through a time of purposelessness and rebellion. Instead, it can become increasingly evident that they are embracing for themselves that which they have been led towards in their childhood years. This past Sunday was a practical manifestation of this, as our two teenage sons helped lead the service at our church. What a joyful Dad I was as I observed them leading congregational music and giving testimony of God's goodness. "To God be the glory, great things he has done". And we pray He will continue to do for many sons and many years to come as we work towards a continued godly heritage in the Philbrick family.