Living for Jesus, Ramblings, Uncategorized

Practical Marriage Counselling

If you’re a church-going person (and even if you’re not), chances are you got some form of marriage counselling from your pastor before he/she agreed to join you in matrimony.  And if you’re much like me, you look back and find that marriage counselling session to be woefuilly inadequate for the great challenges you began facing . . . oh . . . about a day after you got back from your honeymoon.  I feel like my session was much better than most people get, and really did equip us for some of the struggles we faced, with very practical, if simple, tools.  My favorite among them, is the deceptively simple, “The way you don’t end up getting a divorce is simple: don’t get a divorce.”

I’m not sure what most churches do, but most that I’ve seen around here have one conselling session with a pastor, who typically discusses the importance of following God together, and living a biblical life.  Then it’s down the aisle you go.  These brief sessions don’t scratch the surface of the many issues you will face together.  To remedy this situation, I am proposing a series of Marriage Counselling Sessions, that I hope many of you will adopt in your churches.

  1. Session 1 will be held individually with each person, and will be entitled “Men/Women are actually much crazier than you previously thought.”  Topics in this session will include what to do with an angry and hormonal wife.  How wives should approach a husband who wants to play video games/ watch sports all the time, and not spend time with them.  Bonus topics will include defensive postures for protecting yourself against flying remote controls and cordless phones.
  2. Session 2 brings the couple together to discuss finances, the single greatest cause of marital problems, in a lesson entitled “Women Are Expensive.”  Men are very unprepared on their wedding day for the expense of frequent gynecological exams and mall shopping trips.  This lesson aims to familiarize men with what they will face as provider for the family, and help women understand that men rarely have any of these expenses.  Topics include the ridiculous regularity with which women:
    1. Go to the doctor
    2. Buy shoes
    3. Buy Makeup
    4. Buy more clothes to match their new shoes
    5. Buy more shoes to match the new clothes
    6. Get medical tests run
  3. Session 3 delves deeper into financial issues surrounding marriage with a lesson entitled, “No Really . . . Women are Really Very Expensive.”  The shady ways in which hospitals and clinics bill multiple times for the same things will be discussed, as long as financial planning help for men to begin early to prepare their budgets for their new-found debt bliss.
  4. Session 4 entitled “And just wait until you have . . .” is a relatively short lesson, due to budget constraints of the counsellor.  He didn’t have the money to finish this topic on having children.  But the point should be easy to articulate by this time in the limited amount of time you have before your interview for a second job.
  5. Session 5 has been cancelled, in order for the counsellor to take on a second job to better pay for his own children and wife.

At this point, the betrothed couple should be marginally better prepared for the circumstances they will soon be facing.  “Oh!” you may say, “but this will discourage young people from getting married!”  Why yes, good friend, I believe you have the point exactly.  If someone gets married after these effective lessons, they are either A) Wealthy enough to circumnavigate most marital problems, or B) Very committed to becoming a Godly couple, and working hard together through touch times.  Either way, you should have no problems marrying them.

This valuable addition to any Pastor’s counselling plans is available for the affordable price of 2 pairs of shoes, 1 Doctor’s Visit, and 2 Outfits for young children.


Holidays = Awkward Family Time

I’m going to avoid the trite little jokes about how you’re forced to spend time with and act interested in people you see once a year.  I’m also going to avoid going on a tirade about the mind-numbing number of churches with some quip about “Thanks-Living” on their oft-abused signs (You already pervert the Gospel, much you also massacre the English Language?). I’m going to bore you with tales about my sun-shiney happy times in Louisiana with estranged family, and force you to like it.  . . because that’s what Thanksgiving is all about.

For some reason or another, that I’m sure sounded perfectly reasonable at the time, my mother raised me to resent my father’s side of the family.  You would expect this behavior from divorced parents, but mine are happily (now anyway) married.  I’m sure there were some conversations taken out of context, mild offense, blended with the typical awkwardness of “involved” parents and newly-weds learning to flesh out their new relationships.  But for whatever reason, not only was I not allowed to participate in this side of family, I was encouraged to resent the 2 times per year I went to their house.  Opposed to my maternal family, my father’s family is one with some attachment to its history and culture.  My Grandfather moved to America during WWII from Germany, and still speaks with a very noticeable accent.  My father himself has been to Germany several times.  But along with this situation, I was also banned from discovering or learning anything to do with Germany.  Other than Hitler . . . because, you know… he’s German.

I’m not turning this into a pity-post, just giving the background.  Of course, at some point in my adult-hood, I realized that they probably weren’t so bad, and were certainly not the evil cloned spawn of Hitler himself, and made very real and reasonable attempts at building some form of relationship with them.  I made sure to visit if I was in town, staying even after the awkwardness became tangible in the room.  I barely know them, even today, so conversation was . . . fitful, at best.

However at Thanksgiving this year, with, I believe, all of the family in the house for the first time since I was a child, I realized how truly deprived I was.  I have several cousins, some of whom I can’t name.  But what struck me was how incredibly similar to them all I was.  My mother’s side of the family is filled with typical southerners (no offence . . . not that any of them read this… because only 1 family member knows how to use the internet over there).  I love them all, but am obviously the black sheep.  At Thanksgiving I’m typically the only male to not show up wearing camouflage, straight from a morning hunt.  They’ve long-since given up trying to convince me to freeze my buttocks off on a deer-stand with them, and now don’t bother much with asking about what I’ve been up to, since they won’t really understand anyway.  My lovely and dear Grandmother makes an effort though . . . and that’s all anyone can ask.  I have no real friends there, and nothing in common with any of them.

But at my father’s family’s house (is there a more convenient way to phrase that in type?), I glanced around when I got there (I was told the wrong time to arrive, thanks Opa) and saw nearly every person there surfing the net on a laptop!  People were emailing pictures back and forth to each other.  After catching up a bit, one cousin asked me, “Oh, do you have a facebook account?” and it dawned on me:  these are my people!  Geeks, every last one of them.  Geeks, and strangers.

It’s been literally years since I’d seen some of these people, although I once saw a cousin at a shopping mall and didn’t recognize her until after I left, I think she still thinks I’m rude.  I’ve been left wondering if there really is a way to make up for lost time?  I mean, my cousins all seem relatively close, and all enjoy relationships with my grandparents that I am envious of.  But with all those times lost, memories, childhood experiences, the natural bond you form with a grandparent as you grow, can I ever have a similar familiarity with them?  Only a couple of them talked to me there at all.  And who can blame them, I’m not sure I’d act much differently, especially if I believed the only reason was there was out of obligation, and was sure to leave immediately.

So…all of that added together with my arriving late and missing dinner (not my fault), and my subsequently hungry children, made us have to leave sooner than I would’ve liked.  My daughter loves to play with her cousins at my other grandparents’ house, so we spent all day there on Friday, and didn’t get to go back.  I’m doubtful that I’ll ever truly know any of them.  And that’s a shame.  I think we would’ve been good friends, and had great relationships.

Ramblings, Technology, Uncategorized

Because I’m interested:

How much do you blog / engage in social networking (facebook myspace, etc) at work?  Is this becoming a more accepted trend int he workplace?

Speaking of blogging and workplaces…I’ve been running a blog and a slew of social network marketing campaigns for work, and another professional blog…which explains my lack of desire to blog here about things that I truly find interesting.


Children make me sick.

Literally. A little bug has circulated through my two kids, and now has fallen on me. I once heard someone say that they never got sick until they had kids. I wonder if its just that you come into contact with more germs, or if its the toll that lack of sleep and exhaustion takes on your body? Maybe my immune system is low because I’m tired. Either way, I’m staring blankly at my desk in my office, and considering a nice hot green tea to help drive away the sickness.
My grandfather passed away last week. It’s so weird to write that. While he’s not the first older relative I’ve lost, he saddened more than the others. It’s gotten me thinking about death, and life…and all things in between.
I think if I lived in Star Trek, I’d most like the Klingons. A death should be glorious, and purposeful. It should at least be dignified. My grandfather has slowly sicked for the better part of a decade, until it took away his dignity, and eventually his mind, except for brief glimpses now and then. Going and seeing him in the nursing home for the last 4 years was trying, and sometimes avoided. What do you say? How long do you stay? Who knows what’s appropriate. Sometimes he was conversational, sometimes not. He was always depressed about his condition.
A death is sad any time, but a meaningless death, with no honor or purpose, is even sadder. He’s better off in heaven now, of course. And that’s a great relief for him. I’m happy for him, on that note. But maybe those crazy Klingons aren’t so crazy after all. I hope my death, may it be long in coming, is glorious and honorable.


Conversation at Work This Morning

Cow-Orker: Did you hear about what’s going on in Georgia?!
Me: Yeah.
Cow-Orker: It’s so weird, I had no idea Georgia was a country.
Me: Yeah, it used be part of the Soviet Union, it’s a country now.
Cow-Orker: Seriously? All this time I thought it was a state! How weird…I guess I have been outside the U.S. afterall!
Me: Wow…good for you.

The way it sounds written out, it would seem that my cow-orker was being sarcastic…but that was not the case. Serious as a heart attack…about as sad as one too.


Blog Updates to be forthcoming

I am not, repeat NOT, pooping out on my bloggy duties.  I am actually working on what is turning into a lengthy post on Christianity and the Prosperity Gospel.  Being in the Financial Advisory business in the past, and of course being the Bible College drop-out that I am, I have a relatively well informed opinion on this topic.  I’m considering breaking it down into a series, because let’s be honest…you don’t read blogs because you have a long attention span.  If I have to scroll down, bloggers, it doesn’t get read. 
I have also been remarkably quiet, because "Brad" at Windstream said that it will take up to one week to get my static IP address.  So, I’m still sitting around with a partially installed LAMP server waiting to go live.  I’ll have more updates on both blog and tech fronts soon… hopefully.

Christian Carnival CXCVII is up!

CXCVII:  I don’t know what that means, ’cause I don’t speak Roman.  I’m AMERICAN.  Go back to your country, Romans.
That being said, and immigrations issues aside, there is a great roundup of articles at Crossroads today.  I have my own collection of honorable mentions:
  • Cao’s Blog: A Life of Discipleship – Excellent.  It saddens me that so many people receive Christ, and believe that’s all there is to their faith.  We have an endless supply of new and dynamic experiences with God awaiting us at every stage of life, if we continue to follow him and learn about his word.
  • Free Money Finance: Camels and Needles – Again, excellent.  A delightfully simple topic on wealth and Godliness, which relates somewhat to my earlier post on preachers making good money.
  • Homeward Bound: Is Intelligent Design Science? – Here is a topic I’ve spent a great deal of time mulling over.  And this post sheds an interesting light on it.  I’m not jumping on the ID bandwagon here… but I do have a new angle to consider this potentially important topic from.

So, anyway…mosey on over and enjoy!


Karen Wheaton – The Ramp

I’ve been exposed to this awesome ministry over the last few months, and I’ve just fallen in love with it.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen more freedom in a youth group before.  And I must say, it’s not just for the youth…although it is geared towards them.  Damon Thompson typically preaches at Ramp conferences, and while I’ve never been to one, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen on TV. 
The Ramp is the home of Chosen Generation, a group of teens and 20-somethings who do dramas.  I’m typically not a drama fan, but I’ve not seen one of theirs that looks cheesy, or that isn’t anointed.  I want to encourage you to check it out at The Ramp or at Karen Wheaton Ministries.  The youth group at my church has gone to one of their meetings before, and I believe I’ll be travelling along, despite my advanced age, on the next trip to Texarkana.  Let me know what you think!