Sunday, April 26, 2015

Zacchaues


Zacchaeus was a Wee Little Man

Zacchaeus was a wee, little man,
And a wee, little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree,
For the Lord he wanted to see

And as the Savior came passing by,
He looked up in the tree
And he said, “Zacchaeus, you come down!”
For I’m going to your house today.
For I’m going to your house today.

Zacchaeus was a very little man,
But a happy man was he,
For he had seen the Lord that day
And a happy man was he;

And a very happy man was he.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Thank goodness for shelter and air conditioning

The Crafty Dad and Daughter took to the road again this weekend. The good news is we did better this week than we did last week at the Brick Festival in Ferris, TX.

The better news is that I didn't get a speeding ticket on the way home.

The best news is that I am now home, out of the sun, and in the comfort of air conditioning.

Air conditioning is a truly awesome thing.

This was the second of three weeks of having a booth somewhere to sell our crafts. The second week of getting up way too early for any day of the week, especially a Saturday. I have a "Saturday Rule" that means not getting out of bed before 9 AM. I was up 4 hours before that.

There's something about knowing I have to get up early that brings on insomnia. I slept some better than last week, but still woke before I had to.

I was outside from about 6 AM when it was dark and cool outside until 4 PM when it was very bright and very warm. I'm not used to that. Not at all. I feel baked.

I am a wimp.

Also, my peeling sunburn on the back of my neck from last week burned again.

In other news, I think I witnessed the world's shortest parade today. There was a band. There was a police car and fire truck. There were horses. Around here, those things are all necessary for a parade.

There was also a trash truck. Some of the nearby vendors found that odd. Maybe it's sad that I did not.



One more early Saturday next week. Thankfully not as early, and it's in town. OH, and most of all, thankfully, it's in air conditioning.

Friday, April 24, 2015

I'm going to lament the death of McDreamy some more



After watching Grey's Anatomy and blogging about how my Thursday nights will never be the same, I spent the rest of the evening commenting on Facebook and Twitter how ridiculous I thought Derek Shepherd's death was handled on the program.

Me and half of America.

I also created a "Long Live McDreamy" board on Pinterest. I was obviously having a moment.

Now, I'm actually making this Friday post on Saturday because I didn't get around to making my daily post  and am trying to catch up. I had planned to talk about a conversation I had with a friend Lori Twichell about her take on the episode. Lori has written for TV and watched the show from the perspective of a writer and from the publicity/marketing angle. Lori blames me for actually watching the episode, but I don't know why she blames me because I think someone else would have talked her into it too.

Thankfully, I don't have to do the writing to share all of our conversation. Lori did that. If you want validation that yes, the episode was horrible besides the fact that no one wanted to see Derek, one of the most sensitive, gorgeous, kind, smart, dreamy guy on TV die, then click here to read Lori's post.

Much love to you, my friend. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Just end Grey's Anatomy now

I live a pretty solitary life and grow attached to some of my TV shows. I've been a die hard Grey's Anatomy fan since the first episode.

I have screamed at the TV at unbelievable moments. Maddening moments. As characters were killed off in ridiculous ways.

Through it all, I have loved Patrick Dempsey's character, Derek Shepard.

The most maddening episode ever ended tonight. If Queen Shondra Rhimes thought the actor was being a diva, she didn't have to be so violent towards the rest of him and kill him like she did.

I guess she is ready to call this show quits because this is the WORST. She should have just left Mer and Der mad at each other and living on different sides of the country. They could have ended the series with Meredith flying off to live happily ever after.

If the show makes it through one more season it will be a miracle after ticking off all the viewers. Some of us will watch because we just can't help ourselves. It's Thursday night chocolate. I live for Thursday night TV.

Shonda should have just let Jake die tonight on Scandal. I guess that would have been too mean to do the same actor on her two prized shows. She already killed Scott Foley off Grey's Anatomy.

Maybe Patrick will make an appearance on Scandal some day. Half the actors that are on that show lived or died at Seattle Grace/Grey-Sloan hospital. Start watching Grey's from the first season and just count. Add a few actors from Private Practice too.

McDreamy... I was missing you before you were gone.



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

There are two things I'll never get caught up on

There are two things I will never catch up on. 

The first is my work email inbox. Never. Ever. I may never catch up on reports either. Mainly though, it's my inbox.

The second is getting my website updated over at The Crafty Dad and Daughter. More accurately, getting everything pinned to Pinterest.

Someday. Yeah, right. And someday my Prince will come.

Until then... this is what I've been painting on the past week.








Tuesday, April 21, 2015

'A Sparrow in Terezin’ by Kristy Cambron | New Book Plus a Book-Inspired Giveaway

Bound together across time, two women will discover a powerful connection in Kristy Cambron's new book, A Sparrow in Terezin. Connecting across a century through one little girl, a Holocaust survivor with a foot in each world, two women will discover a kinship that springs even in the darkest of times. In this tale of hope and survival, Sera and Kája must cling to the faith that sustains and fight to protect all they hold dear—even if it means placing their own futures on the line.

Kristy is celebrating by giving away a basket filled with goodies inspired by her new book!

sparrow terezin - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A set of poppy notecards
  • A poppy pin
  • A copy of I Never Saw Another Butterfly
  • A copy of the Mrs. Miniver DVD
  • Literary tea bags
  • Tumbler
  • A copy of A Sparrow in Terezin
sparrow giveaway bastet 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 28th. Winner will be announced April 29th on Kristy's blog.

sparrow terezin-enterbanner

{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

Sparrow in Terezin PK

{MORE ABOUT A SPARROW IN TEREZIN}


(Thomas Nelson, April 2015)
Bound together across time, two women will discover a powerful connection through one survivor’s story of hope in the darkest days of a war-torn world.
Present Day—With the grand opening of her new art gallery and a fairytale wedding just around the corner, Sera James feels she’s stumbled into a charmed life—until a brutal legal battle against fiancé William Hanover threatens to destroy the perfectly planned future she’s planned before it even begins. Now, after an eleventh-hour wedding ceremony and a callous arrest, William faces a decade in prison for a crime he never committed, and Sera must battle the scathing accusations that threaten her family and any hope for a future.
1942—Kája Makovsky narrowly escaped occupied Prague in 1939, and was forced to leave her half-Jewish family behind. Now a reporter for the Daily Telegraph in England, Kája discovers the terror has followed her across the Channel in the shadowy form of the London Blitz. When she learns Jews are being exterminated by the thousands on the continent, Kája has no choice but to return to her mother city, risking her life to smuggle her family to freedom and peace.
Connecting across a century through one little girl, a Holocaust survivor with a foot in each world, these two women will discover a kinship that springs even in the darkest of times. In this tale of hope and survival, Sera and Kája must cling to the faith that sustains and fight to protect all they hold dear—even if it means placing their own futures on the line.
Kristy Cambron

{MORE ABOUT KRISTY CAMBRON}


Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal Reviews’ “Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction)” for February 2015.
Cambron is an art/design manager at TheGROVEstory.com storytelling ministry. She holds a degree in art history from Indiana University and has nearly 15 years of experience in instructional design and communications for a Fortune-100 company. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.
Find out more about Kristy at http://kristycambron.com.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Choosing faith over political correctness

An interview with John C. Lennox,
Author of Against the Flow


The concepts of tolerance and political correctness are having a chilling effect on the public practice of Christianity. That’s why readers will find Dr. John C. Lennox’s new book Against the Flow: The Inspiration of Daniel in an Age of Relativism (Monarch Books/March 27, 2015/ISBN: 978-0857216212/$19.99) incredibly timely. Lennox, who has defended the Christian faith in debates against the likes of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, gives every follower of Christ the intellectual foundation they will need to argue the role their faith should have in the public discourse. 

While anyone who has spent time in a Sunday-school classroom is familiar with the biblical story of Daniel, Lennox mines this classic historical account to encourage cultural bravery in Christians trying to find their place in a postmodern society. The story of these four young men born in the tiny state of Judah around 500 B.C. and captured by Nebuchadnezzar, the emperor of Babylon, is one of extraordinary faith in God lived out at the pinnacle of executive power. The book of Daniel describes in detail how each of them eventually rose to senior positions of administration.

Q: You have studied and lectured on a number of different biblical topics – why did you choose to write Against the Flow about the biblical story of Daniel?

It is one of my favourite narratives in the Bible because it records the life of an individual who was prepared, even when he was given high office, to publicly stand up for God, despite being under immense pressure to renounce or privatize his beliefs. He didn’t just maintain his private devotion to God, but a cutting-edge public witness which is much rarer.

Q: Why should every Christian be familiar with the themes found in the story of Daniel?

Much of the book is of direct relevance today. Babylon is the ancient version of our secular society, and Daniel and his friends were called upon to stand for their faith even though they were in a tiny cultural minority.  They did this in the full glare of publicity rather than run away to form a ghetto. Their values were challenged – is there anything of absolute value or is everything merely relative?  Are our religious beliefs just a result of our upbringing? What evidence is there that the supernatural realm exists?  What do we do if God’s law clashes with human law? When is the status of humankind compared to animals? Do we live in a closed or open universe, and how ultimate are the laws of nature? Does the Bible have any predictive power? The real weight of many contemporary intellectual spiritual, moral and ethical questions come out clearly in Daniel’s remarkable book.

Q: Babylon, where Daniel was captive, was a hub for commerce, culture and education. How was this possible when it was built on false religions and moral ambiguity? What can modern Christians learn from this juxtaposition?

This was one of the questions that Daniel and his friends must have contemplated. Was the sheer scale and might of the city a sign of God’s favour or even a confirmation of the power that the Babylonian gods wielded? Yet, as the story shows, Babylon was built on very shaky and inadequate moral, spiritual and philosophical foundations as we see in Daniel’s analysis of the reasons for its ultimate demise.

Q: Why do you call the times in which we live a “modern Babylon?”

The city of Babylon is used throughout the Bible to describe a society that has turned away from God, indeed is founded on defiance of God basing its confidence on human ability and intellectual capacity to “make a name for itself.” Its ancient ziggurat was a forerunner of the modern skyscraper and all that such buildings symbolize. It was a powerful city within which a plurality of beliefs existed and the same kind of idols that its inhabitants worshipped (many of which were based on deifying the laws of nature) still predominate in society today (sex, greed, power, wealth, etc). Daniel, though he lived in Babylon didn’t live for it. He, like Abraham, lived for a heavenly city which has true foundations and whose architect is God.

Q: Why do you think Daniel and his friends were able to rise to power in the midst of such a corrupt culture?

What is interesting about their rise to prominence is that they were not prepared to keep their faith in God a secret, which they could easily have done in order to save themselves. Instead, they deliberately stood up for their belief in the public sphere and, as a result, crucially, they were seen to be different (in a positive sense). Daniel was known for his “insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom” (Daniel 5:13). His life was such that his accusers were unable to find anything to charge him with (Daniel 6:4).  He also showed immense courage to interpret the dream for Nebuchadnezzar, as the King had already threatened to execute his wise men for their inability to do so.  Nebuchadnezzar’s promotion of Daniel was a result of Daniel’s obedience to God.  Those that honour God, he honours.

Q: What should the focus be for Christians who have found themselves placed in positions of power and influence?

The focus of all Christians should be to live for God in whatever sphere of influence they are in. It is in our work environments that our faith in God is most likely to be tested.  People in positions of power are under particular pressures. In one sense they have a great opportunity because of their influence, but in another they have a great responsibility, as well as much to lose. Yet these concerns were exactly the same for Daniel who provides an amazing model for us today, whether or not we are in positions of power.

Q: It would be hard to find a child who grew up in church who has not heard the story of Daniel in the lion’s den – but this is more than just a thrilling story – what does it tell us about the relationship between law and religion –specifically, the Jewish religion?

The genius of Daniel is that it shows how important law and legislation is. Once laws are passed they can be very difficult to overturn and it can be too late to protest about them. So in Daniel a central theme is about how we should focus on living under God’s law in a culture that is prepared to pass laws that discriminate against believers publicly expressing their faith.

Q: What has been the effect of political correctness on the public practice of the Christian faith? Could Daniel have identified with this?

There is a pressure in society to respect all different viewpoints and to keep our faith private, so we don’t ‘offend’ anyone. One problem with this is that it causes confusion about how to judge between different ideas (their truthfulness), for example, or right and wrong. In society we have relativized the absolute and yet we can’t live without absolutes, so we tend to do the opposite and treat as absolute what is merely of relative value – like money, power, status etc.

Q: You say in Against the Flow, that there is one point Richard Dawkins has made that you completely agree with. What is that point and what does it mean for Christians?

Dawkins is not a postmodernist, nor am I.  We agree upon the fact that there is such a thing as truth that is independent of you and me.  We agree that if someone makes a truth-claim, then you should be able to ask them what evidence they have for holding that viewpoint. Christians don’t have to be philosophers or academics, but they should be able to give reasons for the hope that they have (1 Peter 3:15). Yet this is not a one-sided thing, as the same must go for the naturalistic beliefs that most atheists hold.

Q: Why do you think our culture has accepted the idea that faith has little or no place in the public discourse?

A major reason for this is a misunderstanding of the word. The new atheists have helped to propagate the notion that faith is believing in something in the absence of evidence. This is an idiosyncratic and incorrect use of the word and is what is usually referred to as blind faith.  My faith in Christ is evidence based – the main evidence being the resurrection in history and my own experience.  It is also helpful to remember that faith is indispensable to science. No one would do any science if they did not believe = have faith in the fact that = science can be done.

Q: What is the proper place of Christianity in today’s postmodern society?

Although our culture is informed by postmodernism, most people believe in truth in one form or another and certainly in areas they consider important. There are several worldviews in our western culture today – naturalism and Christianity being two of them – and what I object to is atheistic naturalism being regarded de facto as the default world view.  That is not the case – all worldviews ought to be free to enter discussion in the public space.

Q: Do you see the stand for righteousness in a wicked culture as being in competition with Christian compassion?

I wouldn’t see the two as being in competition with each other, as the key is how we convey our faith to others. We must always communicate righteousness in a way that also conveys our compassion. This isn’t always easy, which is why we have to ask God to help us in our conversations.

Q: You have debated well-known atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. What was one of your most challenging debate moments? Most rewarding?

The most challenging thing is probably after a debate, when you process what was said and what might have been said. The most rewarding part is hearing from those who have been helped by them, such as those who have subsequently become Christians or those whose faith has either been strengthened or revived by seeing the discussions. One of the motivations for doing them is that people are influenced by what public intellectuals say. It is not surprising that if Stephen Hawking says there is no God, people think “who am I to question him?”

Q: What is the single most important lesson for the Christian from the life of Daniel?

It is intended to be a clarion call to our generation to be courageous and to not to lose our nerve and allow the expression of our faith to be diluted or squeezed out of the public space, thus rending us spineless or ineffective. Hopefully it will help strengthen our resolve to swim against the flow, not only to put our heads above the parapet, but also to make sure in advance that our minds and hearts are prepared, so that we do not get blown away in the first salvo!


Learn more about John C. Lennox and Against the Flow at www.johnlennox.org or on Twitter (ProfJohnLennox).

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I Want to be Like Daniel, I Want to be Like Ruth


I Want to be Like Daniel,
I Want to be Like Ruth

(Boys) I want to be like Daniel…
(Girls) I want to be like Ruth…
(Boys) I want to be like Daniel…
(Girls) I want to be like Ruth…

(Girls) For Ruth was so, so, sweet and kind
(Boys) And Daniel was a mighty man
(Boys) I want to be like Daniel.
(Girls) I want to be like Ruth.






Saturday, April 18, 2015

My Saturday in a nutshell

My Saturday in a nutshell: got up before 5:30 (after not sleeping for more reasons than one) for a crafts show I barely made my booth fees back at, then came home with a sunburn and a speeding ticket. The Malakoff Cornbread Festival may be the lamest event ever. I hope the Ferris Brick Festival is better next weekend. At least I will set my cruise control.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce




Part 2 of an interview with Tez Brooks,
Author of The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce

The saying used to be “father knows best,” but with changing cultural tides, a man’s role in the family has been greatly diminished especially when it comes to single dads. The divorced father is often portrayed in movies and television as an object of humor, ridicule or pity. Where does that leave real single dads trying to do their best? It can easily make them susceptible to overcompensation or apathy, which is why Tez Brooks has written The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce (Kregel/February 27, 2015/ISBN: 978-0825443602/$14.99).

Q: Why did you use the metaphor of cars and navigating the road in your book?

I wanted it to appeal to your average Joe. That theme just seemed to come naturally as I began writing. I kept comparing a divorce to a car accident. I compared the similarities between finding your way through that wreck and navigating a road trip. Those metaphors just kept coming until I realized a theme was developing. I liked it because men and cars seem to go together.  

Q: The Single Dad Detour is filled with practical advice on topics from what food to keep in your fridge to how to decorate your new house or apartment. Why are these things important?

Kids need a sense of home.  There’s a reason sometimes why Hollywood portrays us as clueless single dads whose fridge contains nothing but soured milk. It’s because they know it’s often true to life. While a lot of single dads may have found real freedom in being able to display their Mad Max posters and their beer can lampshades, our kids need photos of Grandma on the wall and a living room floor not cluttered with tools. One of the easiest ways we can create a sense of home for our children is to learn to cook and provide a safe and warm environment for them to live in.

In the early months following my divorce I hadn’t learned this valuable lesson yet. I made the mistake of buying my son a dog bed. Yep, you heard me right. You know the big round ones for German shepherds? I know I’m an idiot, but it seemed like a great idea at the time. And my son Caleb loved it! It took about 30 seconds for it to hit me: My son’s sleeping in a dog’s bed! I got him a real bed the next day.

Q: It’s common for single dads to feel overwhelmed by their financial and relational responsibilities. How is The Single Dad Detour designed to bring meaningful change to a busy dad’s life?

I wanted to be intentional in addressing this very issue, so I developed an interactive element at the end of each chapter so dads would have some practical “takeaways.” Readers have an opportunity to reflect on what they’ve read by answering some hard questions, reading a scripture passage and then planning their next steps to apply what they’ve read. There’s even a suggested prayer at the end of every chapter. These things are key for going beyond just reading a book to discovering lasting change.

Q: Why are some men tempted to become absentee fathers? What are some of the consequences for their children if they do so?

As I interviewed men in my research for The Single Dad Detour, I ran into guys who said they were tempted to be absent. I think this comes from the insecurity men can develop as a single dad. There’s already an expectation from the world that they are going to fail, coupled with the normal low self-esteem that comes with a failed marriage. It can make a guy feel like maybe his child would be better off without him in his or her life.

What happens is actually the opposite. Studies show boys who don’t have their father around are more likely to end up in prison. Little girls without that strong connection to a present father are more apt to become promiscuous as a teen. It’s imperative dads cast down those lies the devil tells them and be intricately involved in their kids’ lives.

Q: Men are “fixers” by nature, but it can be tempting for them to fix parenting problems without the Lord’s help. You had one such moment after Christmas shopping with your daughter once. Tell us about that.

I was shopping with the kids and had really had my fill of the holiday crowds and traffic. I just wanted to get home. My daughter was crying in the back seat because she didn’t get to have her photo taken with Santa at the mall. My impatience was building, but I didn’t expect it to boil over like it did!

Her whining wouldn’t stop, so in a moment of exasperation I screamed, “Be quiet! Santa’s not real. He’s dead!” The crying stopped as she blinked in disbelief. I knew I had messed up as soon as I said it. I could see by the look in her eyes, my words had slapped her in the face. No Father of the Year Award this year, I supposed. My daughter started her crying again, but this time it was more of a high-pitched squeal. “Nooo, Santa’s not dead!”

I remained silent all the way home, considering how I might cover my mistake. There was no hiding my outburst, though, and all I could do to make it right was apologize. When we got home I hugged her and asked for forgiveness. She sunk into my chest as we rocked back and forth. I realized that night I must make it a habit to initiate an apology when I screw up. Even more, I learned I’m a pathetic father without God’s grace and help.  

Q: How can a dad have a strong spiritual impact on his children even when not living with them all the time?

Your kids are watching you no matter where they live. For kids who watch their fathers, there’s no mistaking what their dad is passionate about. It’s going to be obvious. Kids observe when you react to things in your flesh, rather than respond with Christ’s character. I messed up a lot. I showed my anger, my selfishness, my pride . . . but I tried to live a life of repentance. I think if we make the Lord part of our everyday conversations, our kids will be able to discern our Christianity is more than a hobby — it’s a relationship with the Creator.


Learn more about Tez Brooks and The Single Dad Detour at www.everysingledad.com, on Facebook (everysingledad) or on Twitter (tezd63).