This blog is now almost two years old (although some of the initial content was transferred from A Different Way). We are now coming up on 25,000 views in that time.
I often wonder how (and why, for that matter) people get to my blog, so I dig through the statistics. Some readers get automatically updated (I post three days a week) via email or RSS subscriptions (see the widgets to right to do sign up, if you’re not already). Some come through Facebook and Twitter.
And other folks find me through internet search engines. Some of these search terms are not so surprising:
- “mission allendale”
- “allendale fairfax high school football”
- “joe mole allendale”
- “benefits of short term missions”
- “fatherless boys” or “fatherless girls”
However, some of the searches that got people to my blog amaze / confuse / concern me:
- “amazing bullying gunpoint joy suffering” (3 times!)
- “rumors allendale sc”
- “garbage truck concept”
- “three black guys walk into a restaurant”
- “cars made before 1990”
- “pain fairy sex” (I’m not going to google that)
- “i love long jump”
Once readers are here, some only read the most recent article (especially for those who subscribe). However, new and infrequent visitors usually want to catch up with what we are doing and learning. That’s why I often put in so many links in my posts.
As a friend of mine recently told me,
“I recently discovered how deep the rabbit hole of your blog goes. You’re so crafty with how you link one to the next in the text of your blogs! I found myself clicking and reading and clicking and reading and wanting more and more.”
Good. That’s the point. I want to get you sucked in so
my blog stats go up you can learn and be inspired.
If you are new, or need to catch up, here are some of the more popular posts:
- Are You New?
- Feeling the Pain of a Fatherless Generation: Angry Boys
- Our Engagement
- Just Do Something
- Equality Is Not Equity
Happy reading! And thanks for all your encouragements and comments (and even just for reading and sharing).
As I wrote on A Different Way yesterday, I am taking this week to list my top posts in 2011, between my two blogs. If you missed these, it’s a chance to catch up. And if you already read them, maybe it’s a good chance for you (like it has been for me) to remember God’s grace this year.
Today’s link is some thoughts I had in August, as I reflected on the previous 12 months. In the summer and fall of 2010, I was going through a difficult transition. I wanted to be in control, and I wanted answers. But God was pruning me through the process.
I hope you enjoy reading (or re-reading) “I Wish I Could Fast Forward and Look Back” — and maybe it help help you through any struggles you are currently going through.
I love hearing the personal stories (Why We Do This) of how much the kids are growing in the after school program. I love it when parents “complain” about their kids not wanting to leave, or when a child doesn’t go to school (for any number of reasons) but they insist they still want to go to the Club.
I love seeing staff and volunteers work within their passions and gifting. Some help with homework, some help with crafts, some do personal mentoring (and some do all of the above). A couple of baseball players have been helping with homework, then playing sports with kids.
But the best part of my job has nothing to do with other kids, or with most of the leaders. The best part of my job relates to something my older son (Elijah) realized a couple of months ago.
“We’re the only family that has everyone together at the Club everyday.”
If you ask my kids who their friends are, they’ll rattle off kids from the after school program. Even our 4-year-old (Sender) will list middle schoolers as some of his “best friends.”
I love that my boys get to run and and play with other boys. I love that my daughter was respected enough to be voted in as secretary of the leadership program that we have at the Club.
I love that my kids participate in the Club Talent Show almost every week, whether individually (such as this awesome dance routine), or when they make up their own group skits. Even better is when they come up with ideas that include other kids in the Club.
I love that My Excellent Wife and I get to work side-by-side, not just to strengthen our own marriage, but for the model it provides for the kids who see us serving and leading together, as I wrote about here.
I love that my son recognized the uniqueness of our family’s situation.
For all that I’m not good at with this role, and for all the struggles that we go through, God reminds me how fortunate I am to have my family with me at work every single day. How many of my peers would love to have that opportunity?
If you can’t take your kids to work with you each day, you need to find some kind of ministry that you can serve together in. Are you On a Mission?
You want to see what an excellent wife (Proverbs 31:10) looks like? Check out my wife, Joanna.
She has a full day of pouring out for others, especially for the next generation. This is the mission that we are on together, but she gives power and love to aspects that I could not.
She educates our kids all morning, and is at the after school program all afternoon. At the after school program, she is better than me in three essential elements — helping kids with homework, facilitating creative activities, and organizing the building.
And she helps others be involved there, too. She picks up and drives home one volunteer virtually every day, so he doesn’t have to walk. She also takes home a couple of kids who live with their car-less mom in a shelter.
Joanna is demonstrating what it looks like to selflessly serve others. Inviting, she makes after school a fun and welcoming place to be. Nurturing, she solves transportation issues for others who want to be with us. Partnering, she adds power to our ministry to this community.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18
Here’s an excerpt:
“No matter what social status you are in, everyone has the common bond of wanting a chance. For some of us, it’s the opportunity to buy more and better stuff. For others, it’s the opportunity for a more fulfilling job, or a way to better use their gifts. And for many people in the world (including the USA), they merely want opportunities to obtain basic needs for their families, like food, shelter, and health care.”
Go over to the blog and read the full article, and let me know what you think.
I already gave 10 Reasons.
The IGA in Fairfax sells Maurice’s BBQ Sauce, and zero stores in Greenville sell it.
Disclaimer: Yeah, I know that Bessinger guy has issues, but it’s dang good sauce. And I love the irony — that this product (whose owner is considered racist by many) is easily sold and bought in a county that is three-fourths African-American.
Edit: The IGA in Allendale sells it, too.
(See the list of 15 Reasons Allendale Is Better Than Where You Live.)
We have a talent show almost every Friday at in the after school program. Early on, we had to outlaw the kids from doing back hand springs and flips. It was incredible, but gave us leaders mini heart attacks every time.
Some kids do dances, some sing pop songs, some jump rope and hula hoop. We’ve even had some skits. It’s a great time to encourage kids to be creative and showcase their talents (or lack thereof).
Our own kids have really gotten into it. Hannah likes to do cartwheels, especially with other girls. Elijah has memorized and performed songs like “Dynamite” with some other boys his age. Sender dances and rolls around on the floor. My favorite was when they wrote, practiced, and performed their own silent drama, called “The Life Cycle of a Carrot.”
Last month, Elijah mentioned early in the week that he and one of his closest friends were going to perform a new song, as suggested by his friend. That was a good thing in my mind, since he has done “Dynamite” about 6 times in the talent show, and about 600 times in our house.
But later in the week, I asked him what song they were doing. He told us the name, and we googled the lyrics. It was evident that the song wasn’t appropriate, and therefore we said that he wasn’t allowed to sing it.
Elijah got really sad, especially since the boys had been practicing the song all week. He was right; I should have been more intentional and active to look at the words earlier.
I explained that the words and ideas in the song were not honoring to God, and he understood what we meant. The hard part was how he would tell his that he couldn’t do this song, and how his friend might react. Here were some things that we discussed as we talked through that:
- The most important thing is what would glorify God. That needs to be our main focus.
- By explaining his desire to honor God (and without pushing his beliefs on his friend), Elijah had a chance to testify about God.
- Not only could he testify about God, but Elijah had the privilege of representing God to his friend. This boy might not know anyone else who is standing up for God.
- In His grace, God has allowed Elijah the chance to live out his faith.
Elijah is learning what it looks like to be a disciple of Jesus and to honor God. I’m so thankful that our Lord is giving Elijah the opportunities to grow in his faith.
“So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!'” (2 Corinthians 5:20)