10 Reasons I Love My Wife

Today is my 14th wedding anniversary. I wanted to take a minute and list a few reasons I love being married to my wife.

1. She is funny. She has a great sense of humor. I love to laugh with her. Plus, she makes fun of me a lot. She even has the grace to laugh at my jokes sometimes.

2. She is hot. Seriously, have you seen this woman? This actually happened: A guy walks up to us and looks at her, then me, and says to me, “How did you end up with that?” Leaving aside the fact that he referred to my wonderful wife as “that”… I know, right? How did that happen?

3. She is an amazing mother. My threes kids may be the luckiest on the planet.

4. She is freaky smart. Anything she puts her mind to, she does well. She crammed 4 years of college into less than 3, and still got a 4.0. Seriously, she was taking 21 hours of classes in the summer. I crammed 4 years of college into 7. She teaches our kids at home, and is teaching 5th graders 2 days a week, and is getting her teaching certificate at the same time.

5. She is willing to sacrifice for what she cares about. She has followed me all around the country. Because we wanted what we felt was best for our children, she left her job to raise them, multiple times. She has given of herself over and over again for others.

6. She is good at what I’m bad at. Like finances. Her undergraduate is in finance, and she helps me not spend all our money on gadgets and snack food. In so many ways, she fills in the holes I have.

7. Vegetarian lasagna. OK, I don’t love that, but I do love that she cares about healthy stuff. When she can, she makes sure we eat right.

8. She juggles like a acrobat. She organizes like… an organizer. I don’t know how she does it. I mean, I’m petty good at logistics, but she keeps all three kids on track, runs the house, handles her work load at school, volunteers at church, and somehow keeps her sanity.

9. She is a great cook. I know that sounds sexist, but I don’t mean it like that. She is really good at mixing ingredients into good food. But she is always up for grabbing something on the go. Got a craving? Let’s hit Chipotle!

10. She is a Godly woman. I know I have the title pastor, but her faith dwarfs me.

Happy 14 years, Mandy. I can’t imagine life without you.

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Hype vs Reality

So today we tried a BBQ place. This place always has a line out the door. There is another location across town and it is always busy. People rave about this BBQ. It’s not quite to the level of “Life won’t be complete without it” level, but it’s close.

We happened to be by the one near us, and saw there was not much of a line. So we decided to try it out. I was kind of excited. Lots of people have told me how great this place is. But with three kids we can’t stand outside in the heat for 30 minutes.

You should know, I have a very high level of expectation when it comes to BBQ sauce. The best BBQ my wife and I have ever had is Cousin’s BBQ in Fort Worth, TX. We like Texas BBQ. I mean, we like Tennessee BBQ and Kansas City BBQ and Memphis BBQ. I like all BBQ except sweet BBQ. Sweet BBQ is some sort of joke two guys thought up down in Texas. They were suffering from a little heat stroke after filling the smoker out back with hickory sticks, and you can’t blame them for it. I’m sure they were delirious. Sadly, their joke lives on and unsuspecting people mistakenly order a BBQ sandwich and end up with something sweet, but not in a good way.

So people had been going on an on about this place, and I want it to be good. the hype was pretty high. Our expectations were pretty high.

The reality? It was an OK place. Good texas style BBQ. I’m not going to stand in line to eat there, but it was good. I’ve had much worse. But there is a place that I’d put just as good closer to my house.

That’s the problem with hype versus reality. Had I just stumbled across this BBQ place I would have been very pleased. And would probably think better of it. But because of the amount of hype I experienced before we ate there, the actual experience couldn’t compete.

Now, I’m a peculiar case when it comes to BBQ, but anything you promote can have the same tipping point. Too much hype will overshadow reality. The only real way to compete is to make sure you are telling the truth. Don’t oversell. Talk about what is real, but resist the urge to hype it.

Knee Surgery and the Things You Take For Granted

Recently I began having real pain when I walked down stairs. Then it progressed to just walking more than 200 feet. So one MRI later, I was told I had a tear in the meniscus of my knee. There’s isn’t any real cause of this, other than just getting older and some freak twist which happens to catch in the knee. I never even knew i tore it, until it started hurting.

The only way to fix it is arthroscopic surgery. So I found a hole in my schedule and got it done. As far as surgeries go, this one is minor. No issues, and really, you are up and around very quickly. I was off crutches within four days. But, I’m not healed yet.

I am often reminded of just how hurt i still am. All i have to do is forget, an start down or up a stairs case. oops. Yesterday I forgot I was recovering, and squatted down. I can do that if i am moving slow, but wow I sure found out I cannot do it fast right now.

These are simple movements that I never even thought about. You need to go up stairs? Just go. Need to get down to get something, no problem.

The funny thing about stuff you take for granted is that when it’s gone you get surprised. I wonder what other parts of my life and relationships I take for granted every day? I wonder how much I miss them if they were gone?

How Not to Please God

The book of Judges, many times, reads like a cautionary tale about how not to please God. There are some stories where the people of the kingdom (actually the non-kingdom) of Israel did some very bad things. Like in chapter 19 verse 22 and following, where the men of Gibeah demand the master of the house throw out his guest so that they can rape him. So the guest throws his concubine out, and they rape her to death. Then the guest is so angry that he cuts her body into 12 pieces and sends them to each tribe.

It took this level of outrage to cause Israel to react. So, in the next chapter they congregate and ask the man why he has done this with his concubine. So he relates the whole story, and the people of Israel get angry at Gibeah (which is from the tribe of Benjamin) that they immediately went to punish the men responsible. But the people of the tribe of Benjamin would not comply, and there was a civil war for three days. Israel kept asking God if they should keep fighting the tribe of Benjamin, and God kept saying yes. When it was over most of the tribe of Benjamin was dead.

Then look at Judges 21:1:

Now the men of Israel had sworn at Mizpah, “No one of us shall give his daughter in marriage to Benjamin.”

Notice that the text does not say “God said…” Here is Israel, who has fallen to such a state that Gibeah is beginning to resemble Sodom and Gommorrah. This horrible thing has happened. They have sought God and followed his will in handing out punishment to the men of Gibeah, as well as those in the tribe of Benjamin that stood with them. After all of this, Israel goes a step further and swears to cut off the rest of the tribe of Benjamin. Now they have a problem.

They have sworn before God not to give their women as wives. But they don’t want the tribe to die off. So what is their big plan?

They go to a city that did not join in the fight against Benjamin, kill the adults and take the young virgin girls and gave them to Benjamin. God did not command this, they decided this was a good idea. But even that is not enough. Then they tell the people of Benjamin to go kidnap young women from those taking part on the yearly feast of the Lord at Shiloh. Men of Benjamin hide in the vineyards and take girls who come and dance there.

And that’s the resolution of the story. Everyone goes home like this was all great and grand. OK, not really, this was one huge mess. The book ends with this statement:

“Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25b”

It’s pretty easy for us modern, western civilization types to sit back and look with disgust at this whole situation. Throughout the whole story human life is worth very little. Women and children are worth even less than men. We wouldn’t find ourselves in that situation.

But we might be able to see facets of this in our own lives if we are not careful.

When we take what God has directed us to do, and go beyond that, we are in danger of doing what Israel did here. We may not actually kill anyone, but we will destroy relationships and hurt people if we are not careful. God may have set a task before you, but did he tell you to roll over people on the way to accomplishing it?

Nothing Israel did regarding wives for Benjamin pleased God. He never asked them to make a foolish promise. He definitely never asked them to kill a village and kidnap 400 virgins. And he never told them to kidnap more young girls. It was unjust, and contrary to who God is. I’ll be the first to admit that God took extraordinary measures to protect Israel and the line of David until Jesus was born. He was serious about purity of the faith. But this isn’t who he is.

In your zeal to do what God has asked you to do, be sure your behavior reflects the God whose will you are trying to follow.