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Do Hard Things August 14, 2010

Posted by Joe in Faith, Family.
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I took Benjamin to an all day conference called The Rebelution: Do Hard Things today. What is a Rebelution? It’s a teenage rebellion against low expectations.

Here’s are some notes I took during the conference.

Setting Expectations

An elephant can pull trees out of the ground; it can win a tug-a-war contest against 100 men. Yet a simple piece of twine and a wooden stake in the ground can keep it from leaving in the night. Why? It’s not the twine around its leg that’s holding it back; it’s the shackles around it’s mind. It’s a matter of expectations. The elephant is trained from a very early age that it cannot pull free if something is tied around it back right leg. And it never challenges that expectation as an adult.

Young people of the past did incredible things. There were high expectations for them. That’s not so today; we have, as a society, have told young people that we expect them to be lazy, to goof off, and to be unreliable. And they are living up to our expectations.

When you look in the Bible, there is no mention of adolescence, of looking like an adult yet behaving like a child. God’s Word doesn’t have the concept of teenager. Paul counsels us to put away childish things. He doesn’t say that as young adults we should hold on to childish things.

Set high expectations. Actions follow expectations.

Do Hard Things

The complexity of our challenges have grown as we have grown, yet so has our capacity. What’s the difference in a four year old lifting 10 pounds and an eighteen year old lifting 100 pounds? Think about it this way. What’s the difference in a little Dixie cup and a huge super-sized cup when each is half full? Which is more full? One has more capacity, sure, but they are both still half full.

Our culture expects more from babies than from teenagers. Babies learn to talk, to walk, to go to the potty. We don’t give them a pass. Yet as our kids get older, our expectations for them goes down. We give ourselves and our kids a pass. “I’m not a math person.”, they say. Yet we don’t let our three year say “Mommy, I’m just not a toilet person.” when they are potty training.

Growth comes when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone. And we need to grow to be the person that God wants us to be. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t quit. Moses tried to quit; Jeremiah had an excuse. But God wouldn’t give up on them. So don’t give up on yourself.

Expect great things of yourself and strive to reach the potential that God has given you to do the work He has prepared for you. Do hard things. Reach your full potential. Remember, worthwhile things are not easy. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first. Just keep trying.

Much More

Although this has been a long post, there was much more great information presented in the conference. This post doesn’t come close to capturing many of the great points the Harris brothers made. It wasn’t a name-it-and-claim-it conference either. It was full of solid and boldly spoken truth.

For example, Alex gave an incredibly powerful testimony as he shared the Gospel. He challenged all of us to carefully consider our relationship with God, to examine our lives to see if there is evidence of God’s grace. It was moving. And it was a tremendous call to actions for each of us to live out our purpose. Then the oldest brother, Joshua, talked of the importance of building our life on a solid foundation, the rock that only Christ can be.

The conference was a great time of worship and bonding with Benjamin. We had a wonderful time together. He’s already asking to go back next time the conference comes around. If you have kids, I’d definitely recommend attending one. If you can’t make it to a Rebelution conference, buy the Harris’ best selling book Do Hard Things and read it with them. The conference is based on the book.

Recommended Resources

During the course of the conferences, many books were recommended and even given away. Here’s a list of some of them. We bought the first two. Benjamin’s looking forward to reading them.

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This Week’s Ultrasound August 13, 2010

Posted by Joe in Faith, Family.
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Laura had another ultrasound yesterday to look for breathing motions, amount of amniotic fluid, heart rate and so on.  Every thing looked good. We will probably receive the official report later today.

David Edward weighs in at nearly 6 1/2 lbs which puts him in the 98th percentile for growth.  In other words, he’s full-term size already but he’s supposed to stay put for another 5 1/2 weeks.  Laura says that he has been busy renovating her interior, pushing her liver over here and her bladder over there to make room for his continued growth.

We’re thankful that everything has gone well with this pregnancy. Thanks for continued prayer.

Lydia sings Amazing Grace January 11, 2010

Posted by Joe in Faith, Family.
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Lydia turned 3 a few days ago; we’ll post some pictures from our celebration soon.

For most of her life, we’ve sung three songs to her each night as we tuck her in: Jesus Love Me, Jesus Loves the Little Children, and Amazing Grace. She loves all of those songs now and will some times spontaneously erupt into song while walking down the isle at the grocery store, riding in the car, or sitting at the dinner table.

Tonight, I was able to catch one of her performances and convinced her to let me get the camera. Timothy was sitting in my lap so the video is a bit shaky.

Dancing Timothy November 26, 2009

Posted by Joe in Faith, Family.
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Timothy got excited while watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade. When the Shrek float came by blaring “I’m a believer”, the joy started at his feet and worked its way up to his head. He couldn’t contain it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Timothy’s Dedication August 23, 2009

Posted by Joe in Faith, Family.
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timothy_dedication2-2009-08-15Last Sunday, we dedicated our ten month old, Timothy, in our Church.

If you’re not familiar with the tradition of baby dedications, it’s a ceremony where we, the parents, acknowledge God’s sovereignty not only in our lives but in the life of our child as well. Before our church family we pray to God, asking for His grace and wisdom in raising our child. We also pray that our child might one day trust Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  Our Church family also promises to help us to raise our child in a loving and Christ-centered environment. It’s a joyous day for everyone.

timothy_dedication_2009-08-15

My heroes don’t wear shoulder pads July 20, 2009

Posted by Joe in Faith.
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To many people, professional athletes have been elevated to a status beyond stardom, beyond even royalty. They’ve achieved the level of near demigods.  And many athletes in the limelight let that revelry go to their heads, walking around as if the normal rules of society don’t apply to them.

Steve McNair seemed like a great exception to the stereotypical it’s-all-about-me professional athlete. His selflessness on the field is near legendary. He sacrificed his body play after play for a few extra yards. He played when it was obvious to everyone in the stadium and on TV that he was in pain. Yet when the ball was snapped he went 110% and the pain wasn’t evident. As a result he inspired others to give their all and perhaps play even above their natural abilities.

But his contributions were not limited to on-the-field activities. More than once he renegotiated his contract to free up salary-cap money and allow other players to be signed to the team. Team mates and coaches speak of his leadership in the locker room. He was a team player, an all-star, and a natural leader all rolled into one.

His unassuming style of leadership, work ethic, natural abilities, and great smile made him a very likeable person. I liked Steve McNair.

That’s what made his untimely passing a few weeks ago very disturbing to many, including me.  Michael Hyatt summed it up well in his recent blog posting “One Stupid Decision Away“. I couldn’t say it better. I’m not going to repeat it here; just go to read it on his blog. You won’t regret it even if you’re not interested in sports.

I hope we can all learn lessons from what Steve McNair did right. But I also hope we can learn even more from the series of mistakes he made that led to a tragedy that affected so many others. And will for years to come.

Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t stand in judgment of Steve McNair. We all fall short. We all make mistakes. We are, after all, human. And people make mistakes.

My point is that it’s important to have a hero that doesn’t let you down, that doesn’t make bad decisions, that doesn’t potentially influence you to go down paths you’d be better off not traveling. And there’s only one that I know of that fits that description. He was a Jewish carpenter named Jesus.

As another professional athlete, Charles Barkley, once quipped, “I’m not a role model. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.” As controversial as “Sir Charles” can be, I think he’s right on this point.

Who’s your hero?

Little Boots January 3, 2009

Posted by Laura in Faith, Family, Farm.
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If I had to pick one thing to be an icon of raising children on a farm, it would be a pair of knee-high rubber boots.  You just need them to walk around in the mud and manure, to do chores, to wade into puddles, and any number of other important kid activities.  And each child gets a pair as soon as he or she can walk.

I came upon these prints yesterday and they just made me smile.

bigboot1-01-09littleboot1-02-09

I found these two sets of footprints just a few feet apart, testament to the investment a daddy made in his little daughter by including her in his activities.

This life God has provided us is one we cherish and appreciate.   But in the middle of everyday life it can be so hard to take the time to let the little ones join in when it’s so much faster to do things alone.  We strive to keep the big picture in mind, though.  In the end it will have been more important to spend the time together and suppress our perfectionism than to have square corners and spotless floors.  The bent nails have their own value.

Merry Christmas from the Webbs December 25, 2008

Posted by Joe in Faith, Family.
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Merry Christmas from our family to yours. We hope you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas this year. And as you open presents from loved ones, we hope you remember the greatest gift of all – the one offered to each of us by God so many years ago.

Christmas2008 

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.

So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. ~Luke 2:1-20

Pumpkin Fun October 31, 2008

Posted by Laura in Faith, Family.
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Though we are pretty conservative people with strong spiritual beliefs, we have no problem with taking part in some of the fall festivities we grew up with way back when.  We look forward to pumpkin carving, roasting the seeds, and putting on costumes from our collection of dress-up clothes.  We go up to church and play games and get candy and fellowship with our friends.  It’s always so much fun and there isn’t so much as a hint of the possible darker side of Halloween’s history.  We feel that what really matters is how WE celebrate and our intentions and the traditions we pass on to our children.

Darth Vader, a sweet ladybug, and a princess pose with their respective pumpkins.

A close-up of their designs.  (Okay, I helped Lydia a little).

The little 9-day old Pea-in-a-Pod slept through most of the activities.

In addition to the blow up bouncy things and games you always win to get candy, free snowcones & hot dogs, these Human Hamster Balls were set up in a Sunday School room .  Two children play by trying to roll the other into a corner or otherwise chase each other around the room.  Benjamin and his friend Zack had a great time.

Eating Well August 27, 2008

Posted by Laura in Faith, Family, Farm.
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Over the past year, I have become really curious about the topics of nutrition and traditional foods. I have read countless books addressing those topics and have learned some really fascinating things about modern-day food and health myths and the wisdom our ancestors had that has been discarded.

I’ve long suspected that God in His infinite wisdom created an Earth that had everything we could need if we had cared for it and used good sense in appreciating and using it. Being self-important humans though, we have considered ourselves to be so bright that we could “improve” on what He gave us through our own ingenuity and not worry about the consequences of our fiddling. This reveals itself in lots of controversial moral issues, but right now I am just talking about food.

But how complicated could that get, right? Food is just food. Well, not anymore.

A hundred years ago, our great-grandparents likely had a lot fewer choices about what to eat, but better overall health- fewer allergies, diabetes, unexplained chronic illnesses, and the like. Today the offerings in the typical grocery store number in the thousands, but most would be quite foreign to Grandma. Snack cakes with Kreme filling? Aluminum foil pouches filled with colored corn syrup? “Complete meals in a box” with an unpronounceable ingredient list woefully short on actual meat and vegetables? And this is an improvement?!

With increased commercialization of our food supply comes lots more processing. Each step seems to remove more nutrients and add more chemistry. God made our bodies with the ability to produce natural enzymes to digest the foods He provided, but maybe not these man-made pseudofoods. And what if our bodies don’t always recognize the alien “food” so it can be speedily eliminated? If our well-meaning systems begin to replace true nutrients with these artificial ingredients in every level down to the cell, why should we be surprised to see sky-rocketing rates of cancer?

Our family is trying to return to a diet more like our relatives in bygone days would have consumed. And lest you think that means we are suffering from taste deprivation or that we long for fast-food, I assure you that hasn’t been the case. Traditional natural foods have so much MORE flavor than the bland offerings of cookie-cutter processed foods. When you begin to taste all the flavors out there that have been abandoned in favor of MSG and other “food science” wizardry, you won’t miss the pseudofood that has become the American staple. I also think that you will feel so much better that you won’t be tempted to go back.

In upcoming posts, I plan to share some of the things we have been learning and our experiences as we’ve cleared out the junk food and searched out the good stuff.