Friday, June 22, 2007

Seekadoo (Explained)

When our middle child Heidi was just learning to talk (age 2 or so) she kept asking for "seekadoo". We had no idea what she wanted at first. But it seemed by the way she was asking that she wanted something to drink. After a bit of trial and error we finally figured out that she was asking for a carbonated beverage (soda, pop, cola). We have no idea why she was calling pop seekadoo, as the words aren't even close to similar. But that's what she wanted.

I have liked to make up silly nonsense words since I was a child, and this new word sounded cool. So I picked up the term and began using it as well. Everyone else in the family caught on, so now seekdoo is the word we use for pop. Most of our friends and family know what we're talking about as well when referring to seekadoo. Of course we've gotten some strange looks from servers at restaurants, but for the most part it's all fun.

Spelling - the cool thing about creating nonsense words is that you can spell them however you want. I personally like the spelling 'sicadoo', but it seems like spelling it that way would more likely result in a mispronunciation by people who are unfamiliar with the word. So seekadoo it is.

I'm thirsty. Time to have a seekadoo.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Love Your Enemy

Matthew 5:43-48: You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

One outstanding story of loving your enemy was told by Corrie Ten Boom. During WWII she and her sister Betsy had been sent to a German prison camp, because of the activity of helping Jews in Holland. Betsy died in the camp. Corrie lived, and after the war began to preach of God's forgiveness for everyone. Shortly after the war God called Corrie to preach in Germany. Corrie told the people of the love, forgiveness and healing that God wanted to bring to Germany.

During one meeting a former Nazi prison officer approached Corrie. He had been one of the guards who had abused her and her sister in prison. He did not recognize her, but she recognized him. He had become a Christian, and now asked Corrie if she could forgive him. At first Corrie resisted, but then with the strength God gave her, she was able to hold her hand out to the man, and forgive him. After being obedient she felt a surge of the Holy spirit, and felt only great love for her former enemy.

What a powerful story of forgiveness, and the love only God can give!

Jesus calls us to a high standard. We are to love everyone, even our enemies. This is not something that we can do on our own. It is only something that we trust God will enable us to do. Why are we to love our enemies? Because God does, and we are his sons. Our heavenly Father is perfect in every way. His love is perfect, he gives grace to our enemies, causing the sun to shine on both the evil and good. We are to follow his example.

I've led a relatively sheltered life. I've never been through anything like the struggles of Corrie Ten Boom. But I have experienced consistently in my life that when I love others and treat them with respect, it changes my relationship with them for the better. And even if "my enemy" doesn't change, God still changes me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quality Time

About six months ago my wife and I decided to try and set aside some specific one-on-one time with each of our children. What we do is once a month each parent goes on an outing with one of the children. The child gets to choose what the outing is (within reason). With three kids and two parents this means that each child gets two outings in three months, one with each parent.

We decided that these outings would be a good way to spend quality time with the kids. Quality time is important for everyone, However, I believe it is particularly important in the parent-child relationship. It helps the child to know that she is loved. It gives her a chance to talk one on one, and to tell what's on her heart. And when she is grown, she will be able to look back and have specific and (hopefully) fond memories of time spent with mom and dad.

For the most part our outings are simple and inexpensive - maybe a morning hike, an afternoon drive, or an ice cream at DQ. They generally last for one or two hours. Last month (May) was my turn to do something with Heidi, our middle child. Heidi wanted to go to the Marsing pond. We've gone there several other times for family outings.

So on this Sunday afternoon we drove to the Marsing pond. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day. The weather was sunny and calm, temperature in the mid 70's. Heidi and I walked around a bit, and then sat down next to the pond, and had a little chat.

While we were there a mother and her teenage daughter stopped by. The mother asked if her daughter could take some candid pictures of us. I said, 'sure'. So Heidi and I continued our chat while the teen took our picture. Afterwards they gave us their email address, and said to email them for free copies.

I set out with the goal of giving Heidi a fond memory, but now I have a fond memory as well, and some nice pictures as well! :)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Strawberry Mystery Solved!

The last three years my strawberries have been having problems. Every spring they would start to grow, but then the leaves would turn yellow, and the plants would begin to die. I tried varying the amount of water, and different types of all purpose fertilizer, but neither seemed to have an effect. I verified that the pH balance of the soil was acceptable. It checked in at between 6.5 and 7 which is good. I considered that it might be some sort of blight, but wasn't convinced because the nearby grapes seemed to have a similar (but less severe) condition. I doubted that a blight would impact two different plant species in the same way. In the end I found the answer on a Utah State web page. It was iron deficiency.

To fix the issue they recommended applying liquid chelated iron fertilizer. Regular iron fertilizer won't work, because the plants are unable to absorb it. Chelated fertilizer comes from organic sources, and is easier for the plants to absorb. After 3 applications of fertilizer over the last six weeks, I have seen a definite improvement in both the strawberries and grapes.

So finally I'm getting a few strawberries to eat this year. Unfortunately, the new problem is that the birds are beating me to most of them. Next year I'm going to have to set up something to keep 'em out of the patch.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Generation Gap

This picture from Lucianne gave me a chuckle.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Debt Free!

My wife and I have been following the Dave Ramsey plan now for about 2 years. We have recently completed the "debt snowball" aka baby step #2, and are now debt free except for the house! No more student loans, no more credit card payments, no more car payments!

We now have our finances in enough order that my wife can stay at home and we can still live comfortably. And we're planning a Florida vacation this fall for which we will pay CASH for. As Dave would say...very cool.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Corporal Punishment

Some people think corporal punishment is always bad. I think it can be appropriate if used sparingly and within certain guidlines.

The first thing to consider is: What is the motivation for discipline? The primary motivation for discipline should be for the betterment of the child. Discipline is NOT be used for the convenience of the parent. For example the parent shouldn't spank the kid because he/she (parent) is too lazy to use a more appropriate punishment that takes more work to put into place.

Another consideration: Never punish for an accident. Don't spank the kid for spilling his milk when he didn't mean to.

How hard to spank? Corporal punishment should never leave a bruise or mark.

How often? Corporal punishment should be rare. If the parent uses it all the time, or for trivial reasons, it loses its effectiveness.

How old? There is a certain age window when corporal punishment is most appropriate. Age 3 to 10 is what I've decided on. It doesn't do any good to spank a baby, because he/she doesn't understand what's going on. And pre-teens are getting too old. There are other punishments that can be more appropriate and effective for pre-teens (grounding, loss of privilege, etc).

Corporal punishment should never be done in a way that embarrasses the child. It should be done in private in a manner that is respectful to the personhood of the child. Fathers disciplining their daughters should take special precaution here.

Never spank when angry. The parent must take time to evaluate the situation and think through what punishment is most appropriate.

When? Punishment needs to be at the “right” time so the child associates the punishment with the bad behavior. It should be fairly close to the time of the event. For example you wouldn’t punish a three year old for something they did a week ago. Their sense of time has not developed to the point where they can still associate the punishment with the act.

Who? In most cases parents are the only ones who should spank. Teachers and relatives should not be using it. In cases of blended families it should be done by the parent, not the step-parent.

Why? It helps the child to associate pain with an inappropriate behavior. Just like skinning the knee when careless, or touching the stove when it's hot. Pain is a powerful motivator.