Joy!

He-Motions by T.D. Jakes

As you may know by now, I have been reading books as part of an intensive discipleship program, including books like the fabulous Growing In Prayer by Mike Bickle that I have posted several times about.

The latest book in this series is “He-Motions” by T.D. Jakes, which is full of great anecdotes for those who learn best through a story, and broadly covers waking with God. It is written to both men and women, with almost every single section including thoughts specifically for wives, and a special set of questions for women to ask, consider, and/or share with their husbands. I probably got the most out of hearing Breanna’s perspective on our family, my purpose and strengths, motivations, etc. I highly recommend this book for 2 main groups of people:

Middle-aged men who may be considering big questions in life
He-Motions covers many examples related to the middle of life and a mid-life crisis. Jakes steps back and puts things in perspective by talking about our purpose and identity, and the seasons and stages in life, putting into context some of the things men might be experiencing at transitional times in life. Jakes is also quite thorough in covering the emotions, issues, and relationships men face. By touching on many manly areas, like a man’s relationship with (or issues from) his father, relationships with other men and how to structure them to strengthen yourself, your relationship with your wife, your relationship with your children, and your relationship with God.

It is the balanced look at a man’s soul and walk with God that I think would be centering and realigning for both middle-aged men asking questions, and the second group:

Younger men (or perhaps men who are younger Christians) learning about walking with God
A perfect example of how this book centers on the basics of balance across the spectrum is the section on relationship with your wife. This section talks about power, money, and sex as the 3 areas of a marriage, where Jakes gives basic advice about not letting things separate you from your partner, like a division of chores or decision making where each partner does things they are good at and don’t mind, while making sure all the bases are covered for a well run house, family, and budget.

Another example is the pyramid of friends. He describes how we need one friend who we trust implicitly and who knows us completely, then a couple of friends that we still trust highly, then several friends who we are still quite close with, a large group that we know and call friend, and then the rest of the crowd, who though they may call us friend are generally in it to be served by us. He talks about the depth of trust needed at the top in order for a friend to be able to call you out when you are wrong, lift you up when you are down, and provide a different perspective when you need wisdom.

While the book was more based on stories and practical advice than on a deep delve into scripture, throughout the book Jakes discusses the life of David, using him as an example of a man after God’s own heart. Above all that is what we can take away from “He-Motions”; God does not require a man to be perfect, or have his life in order, even though the book provides advice to do so. Instead, God seeks for men willing to open their heart to Him, to turn to him even when its out of pain, frustration or doubt. A man after God’s own heart is not one that follows Jake’s advice to a “T”, but one who is willing to walk with God, through good and bad, throughout his entire life.

[Quote] On Self Image From Experiencing Father’s Embrace by Jack Frost

You were created in God’s image, and God is love. If you are uncomfortable with God, you are uncomfortable with love. If you are uncomfortable with love, you are uncomfortable with yourself. If you are uncomfortable with yourself, you are going to be uncomfortable with others. If you do not believe you are lovable, you may find it difficult to receive God’s gift of unmerited love and favor. And it may be difficult to enjoy healthy relationships with others if you view yourself differently from the way God views you.

[Quote] From “Keep Your Love On: Connection Communication And Boundaries” by Danny Silk

“In order to be able to make and keep commitments like this— commitments to enduring, intimate relationships— you need to be a certain kind of person. You need to be a powerful person. Powerful people take responsibility for their lives and choices. Powerful people choose who they want to be with, what they are going to pursue in life, and how they are going to go after it.”

Parenting, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Christmas, and The Traditional Proclamation of Shenanigans

Here’s one one that may file me firmly in the nerd/geek category as a dad:

Tonight, Christmas eve, with the tots all tucked in, my wife and I were wrapping some final gifts for the kids. As I grabbed the last one for my 4 year old son, I examined the packaging. 

It is a “Code-a-Pillar”, a popular new STEM toy that helps kids learn the basic concept behind computer programming code. It is a caterpillar with different segments you can attach behind the head, and depending on the order you put the segments in, it will wiggle across the floor differently. For example, you may start with a straight segment and then a right turn segment, so it would drive first straight then right. If you started with the left turn segment he would turn left first instead. So by the order you build him in you “code” his actions and solve problems (like getting around an obstacle).

As I read the packaging, it rightly advertised “learn and play”, “problem solving” and “think critically”. But then the nerd-siren began to sound. I read “8 different segments, unlimited combinations”. I immediately grabbed my green broom and headed to the village square to begin the customary proceedings of declaring a right and proper shenanigans.

I (smuggly) announced to my wife that at most it would be 8 factorial combinations, and even though it was 2 am and I had just driven for over 3 hours on pure ice after a long day of Christmas celebrations, I began to do the math in my rapidly fading mind. After missing the 40,320 answer by about 2000 ( in multipling 1680 by 4, I forgot that last pesky 30 x 4 and hit 6600…duh), I realized that I had wrapped it before even checking for duplicate segments which would have reduced the possible combinations even further.

That didn’t stop me from explaining to my wife (poor, patient woman) that 38k (wrong 40k) was not the same as “endless”. She rightly pointed out to me that to a 4 year old, with the attention span of a hummingbird’s heartbeat, it might as well be endless. 

I began to complain about a STEM toy claiming to teach math and the like, and was about to righteously be disappointed that I would miss out on teaching my son what the fun “8!” on the box meant. Then I remembered how difficult it was yesterday explaining 6/2 and 1-4 even using blocks to count. I started to imagine explaining combinatorics and the concept of multiplication, let alone factorial…we don’t have quite that many blocks.

As a last resort for being right, I noted the 3 to 6 age range of the toy and started to figure whether a very advanced 6 year old could understand my complaint, and well, let’s hope this Code-a-Pillar is REALLY effective at teaching some math.

[Plexus Success] Less Stress = More Connections

It’s incredible what just a few hundred extra bucks a months can do! Stress goes down, free time goes up a little, and all of a sudden you and your spouse are more relaxed, free, and flirty. There is time and space in your brain for connection and romance. There is room in your heart to assume the best of each other and look for the good.

Another benefit is closeness of working together if your so lucky to have the chance. #askme about the opportunity for at home income from #Plexus, which is what Bre and I do. The product is quality, and the income is generous. I love when I create something cool for our business and surprise Bre, and we get to spend time talking and planning together.

Contact Us if you are looking for your next income stream.

[Recipe] Quick Snack for Family Fun Night – Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie

This is the simplest recipe ever, but there are a couple things you can do to always have a quick, easy, healthy snack around for the family to share.
Prep

  1. Always have a few bags of frozen fruit in the freezer – best advice ever! You can use them in so many healthy quick snacks, they keep forever, and they are already cut up and easy!
  2. Invest in a good blender (Ninja!) – smoothies are easy and you can just sorta throw whatever healthy things you have around into one quickly for a snack, and sneak a serving of veggies in for the kids!

20160320_204357Recipe

Seriously don’t get hung up on a recipe for smoothies, just keep it healthy, include at least one fruit that is pretty sweet, and think about thinks that usually go together for the most part. See below for a second bonus smoothie recipe, but for this family snack we used:

  • 1.5 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1.5 cups frozen mangos
  • 1.5 cups plain (unsweetened) Greek yogurt

Blend. Yup, its that easy! The juice from the fruits makes it liquid enough (it may help to slightly defrost), and you can add ice if you want a more frozen drink, but it really doesn’t have to be complex!

20160320_204341Add it all to a big family-size cup and some colorful straws (add them to the things to keep on hand – kids love picking them out!), and you have a delicious snack that is quick enough not to disrupt family time but full of vitamins and energy.

Bonus Recipe

Nick sometimes goes all out and mixes all kinds of crazy things to make a whole meal in a smoothie, so just to give you the idea of the types of things you can throw in for a quick meal:

  • 1 Whole Apple (just take off stem, wash, and quarter. Seeds will blend)
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Carrot (after everything you won’t even taste it. Peel and wash and throw in whole!)
  • 1 “squirt” honey
  • 1 “handful” Oatmeal
  • 1 “sploosh” Yogurt
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Protein – either a couple Tbs nuts or Peanut butter, or for a much more healthy and tasty route: Plexus 96

Blend for a huge amount of vitamins, a full meal, and a boost of energy and head out the door in just a few minutes.

Snowmen: Never Miss This Sneaky Family Exercise

This one is so obvious! Don’t ever be too lazy to get out and roll some snow!

  • Of course it is a family-time activity. Kids love it, and everyone is involved!
  • It is suprisingly hard work! Guaranteed you will work up a healthy sweat.
  • It is fun and distracting, alot easier than many work outs and more fun than some family activities.
  • Educational – teach them about snow, states of matter, trial and error, etc. Don’t shy from looking up answers to any tough questions they may ask!

Christmas Eve Soup Buffet

Bre made this fancy-pants soup buffet for our Christmas Eve dinner. Choose a few favorite soups and set them out with a simple side or two. Sometimes soup can seem too somple or boring but Bre’s presentation made me crave it!

Tips:

  • If you want this meal to be healthy as well as obviously cheap and easy, don’t skimp on cheap soups. Get premium soups with better ingredients, and some veggies snuck in.
  • Choose the lowest sodium, not the lowest price. Soup is already cheap enough, and is notoriously high in sodium.
  • Maybe only go with one creamy soup. They tend to be fattier.
  • Try some mixes. Put two together for a new flavor.

You can see Nori getting ready to enjoy, and as I told Colin, its “yummy yumcicles”!