Life with 6 kids.

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To be honest we can’t believe we have 6 kids either! There are many times when we say “can you believe we have 6 kids”! This was never a goal or dream for that matter… When we got married 9 years ago we talked about having kids and both agreed we wanted a “big” family. “Big” being 3 or 4 kids…. Never thought 6 would be what we ended up with! But we wouldn’t have it any other way!

When people hear that I have six kids, the reaction is usually entertaining. But we just celebrate how awesome it is to have six kids. Here are a few reasons why we love having 6 kids (I’m sure this list will change as they grow, but for now this is where we are at)

1. It’s not as expensive 

Talk about a good hand-me-down situation in the clothing department! The benefit of having Three boys and Three girls is the last couple of babies don’t know what new clothes feel like. Honestly, Kids are as expensive as you make them. I feel we are really getting more bang outta our bucks. stained stroller, filthy crib and tired changing table, I feel like we got a good value for our dollar!

We know they are going to get more expensive as they continue yo grow…. Trust me we’ve already looked into owning our own farm. 2 dozen eggs a week, two gallons of milk a week. two bags of apples, three bunches of bananas… etc. High school sports, heading off to college etc…. Summer jobs and student loans exist for a reason, and I have no problem seeing mine work to earn their educations!

Being able to “afford” children is relative. If you wait until you can afford children you will never have any. It’s a choice. A mindset and a sacrifice at that. We can’t afford a bunch of flashy stuff but we can afford six kids. It’s what your priorities are! If you want the nicest & newest don’t have kids or only have one or two.

2. It will be crazy in your house… But you will raise nice kids!

People often comment that kids from big families seem “nice.” Sure, it’s a generalization… But, one of the reasons they’re nice is because it is difficult to spoil them. Certainly there are children from small families who are not spoiled, but spoiling children in large families is nearly impossible. I simply can’t (and won’t) buy identical high-end expensive toys and gadgets for my kids. Most things they have, they share. I also can’t wait on them hand and foot. If I fetched each kid a snack every time he or she was hungry, I’d be fetching snacks all day long.

Our Older kids help out the younger ones with a bowl of cereal or glass of juice. The fact is, they are fairly independent and helpful – and they have to be if they want to have snacks!

So it would appear that kids who are independent, not materialistic and know how to share seem to be perceived as “nice” by the general population. Just a thought.

3. Here is a straight up fact…We’re Not Sleeping Anyway

The fact is when you have small kids, you’re already lacking sleep, a social life or even time to sit down to eat. You’ve been mistaken for a zombie at work, and you never go anywhere without a diaper bag. An overnight trip requires a suburban packed with the equivalent of your house.. You’re already thick into the parenting lifestyle and a couple of extra kids are not going to make that exponentially harder.

If you’ve gone from one kid to two, you’ve done the hard part. Two to three it’s gone from man to man to zone defense. what’s three more! ha ha

4. We Have A Built-In Entertainment System

The reality is, my kids have built-in playmates. Sure they fight like cat’s and dogs. they scream, run into each other/doors/walls/people but often they disappear into their room or outside for hours. And our HUGE 1,100 square foot home feels every second of them running into everything! Honestly they just happily pass their days being constantly entertained by the fun and antics that surround them with their siblings.

5. Social Life rocks! 

They can’t escape socialization – eating together, bathing, and sharing a room etc… My kids live in a close pack  and I’m excited they will have each other as they continue into Middle school/High school/College etc.

Also glad the boys are the oldest so they can put the fear into any punk that tries to mess with their sisters… I pity the fool! ha ha

6. Guess Who is Not Going Into a Retirement Home!

That’s right. Those six people can take turns passing Kym and I around.  We might even fake a bit of incontinence as payback for the twelve years of diaper changing.  And they should consider themselves lucky – they won’t have three human beings in diapers at once, like some of us have.

7. Lastly let me say MY WIFE IS MY HERO!

  • Full time stay at home mom. A way harder job than most any job out there!
  • Teacher. Homeschooling our three boys and starting Kenzie next year.
  • Cook. AMAZING COOK!
  • Wife! Beyond more than I could ever ask or hope for in a spouse!
  • Check out the next blog for more on this topic!

We love having a large family! We know it’s not the cultural norm these days to have this many kids. But beyond the stares of judgment from those who just don’t get it, the comments from people who mean well but say dumb stuff (family included). We wouldn’t change one thing about our big, real life Brady bunch family!

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Sweet Karoline Jane

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Kaden Jay

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Colton “Butters” Ray

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Corbin “Bubba” Turner

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Kenzie “Sissy” Rose

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Katie “Tink” Mae

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The Saga Day 1.

Click here  to see “The Coffee Break Collective” website where this was posted by Chris Morrow.

Introductions are tough and “breaking the ice” seems like a fitting analogy for this situation, since any ice we stand on would for sure break.

We are fat. Not phat, not big-boned, we don’t have a thyroid issue, and heck, we aren’t even a little chubby. Sugar-coating the word “fat” does the same thing as literally sugar-coating everything, it just worsens your health (mentally and physically).

In a time where fat-acceptance is a real topic, we don’t want to be accepted. Being accepted is one of the things keeping us and 35% of other men in the county fat, and frankly, we are over it. It is easy to accept “fat” when you aren’t noticing the lack of sleep, constant anxiety, chest pains, and frequent sickness that comes with it. Ignorance has become bliss and we are ready to shut that down.

So what exactly are we doing?

Well, for one, we aren’t’ going on a “weight-loss journey.”  Google the word “journey” and see how awful of a word that is when used in this situation. A journey is defined as “an act of traveling from one place to another.”  Doesn’t that sound exciting? Doesn’t the equivalent of a story a trip to the grocery store seem a little lifeless when describing a life transformation.

No wonder it’s hard for people to get pumped for this.

We also are not going to call this a blog, which literally means to write an update. We don’t want to update, we want to achieve goals. Each time you read what we put down, we will not be the same person from the previous week. With all of these crap words being used to describe what could be the single most important decision you make throughout your entire life, no wonder it’s hard for people to get excited for weight loss.

What we need is a word symbolizing accomplishment, fulfillment, VICTORY. This won’t be a journey, this will be…

(drum roll please)

a Saga, which is defined as “a long story of heroic achievement.” Though the word has been thrown into the ground, stomped on, and completely ruined by Stephanie Meyer, Saga is the perfect description. We now have to overcome the obstacle of being googled along the ranks of weird interspecies “love” stories, but come on, weight loss IS a HEROIC ACHIEVEMENT.

If you go through this with that mentality, how can you fail?

Well, since we are human, I assume it will be easy to fail. It’s one of the many things we are excel in. However, it is overcoming that obstacle and reaching new milestones weekly, daily, heck, even hourly, that molds our mind into the focused beast God designed for us. This saga will chronicle every achievement, failure, and everything in between for three men who are tired of being accepted.

Today is January 2, 2018, and welcome to THE SAGA.

Okay, now that you know WHAT we are doing, I am sure you want to know WHO we are.

  • JC Groves

  • Chris Morrow

  • Dakota Dallas

We are three men whose weight break the four-digit mark when combined. Elevators fear us, chairs loath us, and buffets love us. To change this, we will be completely changing our eating habits and perform DDP Yoga at 9:00 pm, 3-5 nights per week. We are tracking our progress with Apple Watches and using three IOS apps: Apple Health (for heart rate and overall progress), Body Tracker (for weight and body measurements), and MyFitnessPal (for food and drink intake tracking). 

Each of us will have our own experience and goals that will be documented here periodically. I hate to use the word “periodically” due to its vague definition but give me a break, we are just now starting this and I am not sure how it will go. It may be sporadic at first but I promise once we get a groove going, it’ll reflect in the timing of our posts as well.

If you have stayed with us this long, then you seem committed to following us and we thank you. By reading this, you are allowing yourself to be our accountability partners and please, call us out when you find fitting.

Don’t sugar-coat anything and don’t accept our failures. 

– Chris Morrow

 

 

 

Lets get honest… I failed.

Folks, let me be as honest as I know how here—I failed. I started out last year on this plan to get healthy and I’m sitting here a year later only 20 pounds lighter than I was last year at this time… I started at 325 and today I’m at 305.

20 pounds in 356 days… It’s just sheer lazy. I’m guilty and it’s time to change that. 

There isn’t a day that goes by without me thinking about my weight.  I wrestle with this more than anyone would ever know. I have come to the conclusion that I have a metabolic rate that’s slower than Congress! 

To be honest I’ve been really convicted about my weight. Simply put it’s a sin. Gluttony is a sin. A sin however that gets looked over all to often.

Maybe you are right there with me…  We dream about change.  We are miserable.  And no matter how many times we say, “This is how God made me,” you know you are lying.  God didn’t shove the fast food down our throats.  We’ve got to stop putting that on Him

It’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna have it’s up’s and downs. But, My witness and actually being alive for my family mean more than a taco from Taco Bell at 9:30 at night!

Plus, I’m sick of wearing spanx’s, not being able to sleep and having hearth flutters…..

If you would like to join me on this journey. I would be more than happy to hold you accountable! Shoot me a email JC@rockbridge.cc and let me know.

A pastor who has dealt with weight issues his whole life wrote this… and it’s helped me out a lot! 

#1 – Understand That Stewardship Of Your Body Is A Spiritual Issue

I know I sound like a broken record here…but there is a reason a lot of pastors just aren’t talking about this…and it’s because they look like they are about to give birth to a toddler!

You and I will never begin to wrap our minds and hearts around this issue until we fully understand that how much we weigh is a spiritual issue. God wants us to be healthy, to not abuse our bodies by abusing anything…including food.

#2 – Understand The Importance Of Time.

If you want to lose weight you’ve got to understand that it’s NOT going to all come off overnight. It didn’t get there that way…and it’s not leaving that way.

Fad diets don’t work! I honestly don’t know anyone who lost weight on the whole protein kick a few years ago and managed to keep it off.

If you want to lose weight then you’ve GOT to commit to walk through it and be patient. It takes a special mindset! Day by day, pound by pound…but, when you get there it is so worth it!

#3 – Take Responsibility & Stop Blaming Everyone and/or Everything

One of the marks of an adult is that they will actually take ownership of where they are in life without trying to blame everyone else. Other people can impact our decision to eat…but they don’t stuff the bag of Dorito’s down our throats!

I remember having a conversation with a guy once who asked me, “What is the first step in losing weight” and I told him, “You’ve got to get pissed, REALLY pissed!”

He looked at me, sort of stunned…so I continued.

“You’ve got to get pissed at yourself. You literally have to look in the mirror and say, ‘You did this…but I’m coming after you…and this is going to be the end.’”

You will NEVER take responsibility for losing weight if it is always someone else’s fault!

#4 – Consult A Doctor and Establish A Plan

Some reading this blog need to seriously set up a doctors appointment today and consult them before beginning any type of physical activity. Seriously,

BREAK OFF A CALL RIGHT NOW!

Some may need to join a gym and hire a personal trainer! (Admit it—you don’t know what in the heck you are doing in there!)

Some may need to actually sit down and hire a nutritionist to walk you through establishing some sort of eating plan. 

I once heard a guy tell me, “Fail to plan, plan to fail!” That is SO true. You are NEVER going to overcome this without some sort of plan. And let’s face it…if you knew what to do then you’d have already done it…you need instruction AND accountability! Speaking of…

#5 – Invite Accountability

Ask other people to hold you accountable as far as losing weight/eating right. The more people you have praying for you AND encouraging you (AND REBUKING YOU) the better!

#6 – DO IT!

TODAY! RIGHT NOW! DON’T PUT THIS OFF!

So, Here we go!

You can do it!  We can do it!

Starting Weight 305

First time watching Star Wars…

1200px-Star_Wars_Logo.svg35 years old and I’ve never watched Star Wars until this weekend.

After so much confusing conversation with Star Wars enthusiast over what order to watch the movies in. My Boys and I just finished Star Wars IV, V, VI…

For whatever reason I didn’t watch these films growing up. I didn’t really watch many films to be honest. I played outside a lot and loved sports more than anything. I would rather throw a baseball up against the house, (breaking many window on our house) riding a go-cart frame down our hill and push it back up only to do all over again (Dad would never buy a engine for the thing) I’ve just never been a gamer or big movie buff.

So what are my thoughts….Do I now love Star Wars? The short answer is no.

Ultimately I will never love these films the way many of you do. Maybe If I had watched these when I was younger I would obsess like a lot of you do… But it is hard for me to see why people obsess over these characters so much.

I guess my thoughts on why yall love ‘Star Wars’ so much is mainly due to nostalgia… and me, as a jaded, 35 year old, will simply never get that!

Everyone who’s encouraged me to watch Star Wars over the years told me to not judge the the original trilogy too harshly since the visuals and dialogue have aged a bit. It was as if I was about to meet their very sweet, but very senile grandparent. ha ha

If anything, I’ve enjoyed spending the time sitting on the couch with my three boys watching these three films. And if they become Star Wars fans as a result of watching these at a young age then so be it! I will gladly watch 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and beyond with them! (seriously how many more are there suppose to be)?

I guess I never ventured into a galaxy far, far away until now because Star Wars barely existed to me growing up.

I remember my dad watching star trek once or twice…. but it was strange. The only show I really remember us watching was Hee-Haw and Sport.

None of my friends liked Star Wars. We spent our time throwing baseball or burning stuff.

To be honest Star Wars even from a young age just seemed silly to me.

All that being said. Next year on my 36th birthday May 25th 2018 I guess I’ll take my boys to see the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Maybe by then I’ll have watched them all and something with change….Probably not but ya never know! ha ha

I guess I should say “May the force be with you”

 

 

4 Types of Friends Every Pastor Needs

Ike Reighard

Pastors may be the most well-known, loneliest men on the face of the earth. Friendship is a vital part of New Testament ministry and leadership. Without quality, biblical friendships, we are modeling a flawed Christian lifestyle for our church members. Yet, for many, the difficulties of pastoral friendships outweigh the benefits.

Most pastors find themselves in an unhealthy relationship where their wife is their only friend and counselor. If a pastor continues to project his problems onto his wife, she will grow disillusioned and desperate to leave the ministry. I believe a pastor’s wife should be his best friend, but she should not be his only friend.

In my 30 years of ministry, I have learned that every pastor needs at least four types of friends:

The Developer
Your best friend will always be the person who brings out the very best in you. According to Billy Graham, he wouldn’t have made it as an evangelist if he had to minister alone. Over 53 years ago, Billy Graham met his staff and best friends: Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea, and Grady Wilson. These three men protected him, strengthened him, counseled with their wisdom, and corrected him when he needed it. He is convinced that without these friends he would have burned out within a few years after his first groundbreaking crusade in 1949 (Just as I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham, pp. 125-129).

Developer friends will bring the gift of encouragement to a pastor’s life and bring out the very best in him.

The Designer

We tend to think of mentors as a personal, hands-on coach. The Latin and Greek define them more as “advisors” or “wise men.” Jesus was a master mentor. He ministered to thousands, trained hundreds, equipped twelve, and had an intimate friendship with three men.

The designer mentors us in our marriage, ministry, child-rearing, civic involvement, business acumen, or any area where we need a model. Designer mentors may live near or far, be acquaintances or strangers, or may even be dead. They “design” our lives through Scripture, books, tapes, articles, or seminars.

The Disturber
We need friends who will shake up our status quo. Disturbers ask us difficult questions, forcing us to take a closer look at motivations and ambitions. Disturbers know when we have retreated into our comfort zones, and they call us out to greater effectiveness. God uses disturbers in our lives to become the object of greater force that breaks inertia and propels us to greater achievement.

A biblical picture of a disturber is in Deuteronomy 32:11. In this passage the mother eagle tears up the soft nest to reveal sharp thorns that bring discomfort to the eaglets. Because of discomfort, the eaglets leave the nest and learn to fly. The mother develops her young by repeatedly pushing them out of the nest and catching them until they become skilled flyers. Eagles were never meant to stay in the nest and neither were we. The disturber pushes us to learn to fly.

The Discerner
In a lifetime of relationships, perhaps only a handful of people are willing to play this vital role because it requires mutual vulnerability. More popularly known as accountability partners, discerners bring the gift of spiritual insight into our lives. They know how to speak the truth in love. They know how to exhort and rebuke, seeking to keep their friend on the right track. They are also vulnerable—the true friends who will walk into the room of your life while everyone else is walking out.

Proverbs 27:6 reads, “The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive.” Always be slow in choosing your discerners and even slower in leaving them.

If you are a typical pastor without close friendships, I urge you to seek them out. They may keep you in ministry for the long haul, and your wife will thank you.

Ike Reighard is the Founding Pastor of NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, Georgia. Adapted by Craig Webb from a previously published article.

REFLECTIONS ON HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

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REFLECTIONS ON HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL| BY RICK BARTLETT Rick’s Twitter

I have spent a career working with high school students in a variety of capacities: teacher, youth pastor, camp director- and now as a parent.

For the past couple weeks, I have been following the story from Steubenville, Ohio on the two young men who have been convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl. The news article I read talked about the arrogance that was displayed by the boys and their friends. According to the ARTICLE, they felt an entitlement to this kind of behavior because they were football players.

This following content isn’t a direct response to this story, but something that I wrote a couple years ago when I observed the pressure society placed on these young men.

Fall is here and with it comes one of America’s favorite pastimes, football. For those of us who work with high school students, this one sport tends to dominate all others.

THE PRESSURES AND PRIVILEGES OF HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Last year, while attending a high school football game at my alma mater, an interesting thought struck me. The entire community, young and old was gathered on a cold October night to watch a group of 16-18-year-olds play football. The team from my old high school was pretty good and was beating the visiting school quite easily. What was interesting wasn’t what I watched, but the way people talked about the local team members. I heard comments like, “He’s a real player,” “#18 is the best we’ve had in years,” “we’re all counting on #32 to bring us a championship,” and so on.

I was struck by the fact that from the comments around me, the hopes and dreams for the entire community were balanced precariously on the shoulders of a group of boys barely old enough to shave.
I could imagine the next morning when the running back, the star of this particular team, walked into the local Starbucks and had complete strangers come up and congratulate him on the game, give him compliments and encouragement, and maybe even tips for the next week. How does this make him feel? More importantly, is he cognitively and emotionally ready to handle this kind of recognition?

I’m not against young people being encouraged for a job well done. In fact, I believe that one thing young people need more of is encouragement. What I do have questions about is the level with which this young person is esteemed in the community and what will happen to him when he graduates.

For many, these high school years will be the best time of their lives; for others, it will be the worst. Don’t believe me? Why are there so many films made about adults returning to high school to change a significant event? I read that when Henry Kissinger was asked what his greatest public moment was he replied, “Attending my high school reunion and showing them that I made something of myself.”

Ten years from now, the allure of returning to “the glory days” could be strong for this running back in Starbucks who may not ever receive the kind of attention he is receiving now. How will he cope when the reality of life is different from the surreal world of celebrity high school athletics? What has my local town trained him to expect from life?

WALKING THE FINE LINE

As a person with a career in youth work, I’m concerned with the pressures we place on youth to grow up too fast too soon. At the same time, I’m a strong advocate for leadership development in adolescents. How can we walk the fine line between these two realities? Instead of setting up a dichotomy, can we see this as a “both/and” situation?

FIRST, I THINK YOUTH WORKERS AND TEACHERS SHOULD BE THE FIRST TO RAISE THEIR VOICES TO CALL INTO QUESTION THE PRESSURES AND EXPECTATIONS PLACED ON TODAY’S YOUNG PERSON.

One way to provide assistance for young people trying to navigate through these difficult times of adolescence is having in his or her life a blend of support and challenge. Too much challenge without support and the young person might be pushed so far they just give up. In reality, too much support without any challenge is probably not possible in this life.

SECOND, I WOULD ENCOURAGE THAT THE SCHOOL, TEACHERS, PARENTS AND THE CHURCH TO SEEK TO HELP #32, MY COMMUNITY’S RUNNING BACK, TO SEE HIS SUCCESS IN THE WIDER SCOPE OF LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT.

Maybe a coach can spend extra time with those students who are both the appointed and natural team leaders, teaching them leadership principles that are applicable on and off the playing field. Alternatively, this could be a place where a youth pastor could be of assistance providing a “leadership development cohort” at a local school.

Whatever we do, I encourage us to find ways to work together. We owe it to #32 to help him navigate this time of fame so that he is grounded in the reality of the future.

The Perfect Youth Ministry Volunteer

Youth Pastor, Chris Dortch, in North Carolina recently posted on his church’s blog looking for volunteers. Here’s what he’s looking for — sounds pretty good to us.

What would the “perfect” youth ministry volunteer look like?  I think I have an answer, but first let’s address some of the myths.

Myth #1 “You’ve got to be cool.”
Let’s face it, we probably weren’t that cool in high school and we’re certainly not cool as adults.  Students don’t need someone to be cool, they need authenticity.  If you are willing to be yourself around teenagers, you’re a great candidate for volunteering in the youth ministry.

Myth #2 “You’ve got to be young.”
Sometimes we think that the 20-somethings “relate better” to teenagers because of their age.  Most teenagers have a hard time telling the difference between at 25 year-old who is married and a 37 year-old who is married (they are both “old”).  Research shows that teenagers are actually drawn to the oldest person in the room who will listen to them and take them seriously.  If you are willing to listen to teenagers and take their problems seriously, you’re a great candidate for volunteering in the youth ministry.

Myth #3 “You’ve got to act like a teenager.”
There is a difference between being child-like and being childish.  One of my youth ministry heroes, Duffy Robbins says, “Teenagers don’t need adults who act like teenagers.  They need adults who don’t freak out when teenagers act like teenagers.”  If you can act like an adult and not “freak out” when teenagers act like teenagers, then you’re a great candidate for volunteering in the youth ministry.

Myth #4 “You’ve got to a Bible scholar.”
Sure, we want you to know something about the Bible, but we don’t expect you to have all of the answers.  In John 9, the man born blind gives us a great example of how to respond to questions we don’t know the answers to, “Whether Jesus was a sinner or not, I don’t know.  One thing I do know, I once was blind but now I can see!”  If you are willing to help students discover answers to their questions, you’re a great candidate for volunteering in the youth ministry.

Myth #5 “You’ve got to know everything in teen culture.”
It’s okay if you don’t listen to Justin Bieber and you still listen to Abba on vinyl.  Students want you to be you.  Many of them would even love to hear stories about the time you were in a KISS cover band!  If you don’t know who Justin Bieber is, you’re the perfect candidate for volunteering in the youth ministry.

If these aren’t the things that teenagers are looking for, what do they need in an adult volunteer?

Reality #1 “Students need adults who will live a life honoring to God.”
Students are searching for adults who are authentic in their walk with Christ.  If there is one thing that teenagers have a keen ability to spot, it is fake people.

Reality #2 “Students need adults who are interested enough to learn their name.”
Students want to know if adults care enough to remember their names.  When I first came to Christ Community Church over ten years ago, I had a middle school girl ask, “Do you know my name?”  To my embarrassment, I had no clue.  I told her that if she reminded me of her name one last time, I would make sure that I knew it the next week.  I will never forget Alice.

Reality #3 “Students need adults who are interested in their life.”
Students need adults who will spend time with them, pray for them, say an encouraging word, believe in them, and simply laugh with them.  Students want to know if you are willing to come into “their world” and discover who they are.

Reality #4 “Students need adults who are consistent with their attendance.”
Students are familiar with adults who come in and out of their lives like a revolving door.  Teachers change from semester to semester.  Parents change from alternating weekends.  Teenagers need to know which adults are going to be consistent in their life.  This is one of the reasons that I have committed to youth ministry for nearly twenty years.

Students may ask it this way, “Do you care about me?  Do you know my name?  Will you be here next week?”  If you are willing to show teenagers you care about them, willing to learn some names, and be consistent with your attendance… YOU are the perfect youth ministry volunteer.

We believe that every teenager needs five godly adults who are investing in their lives.  When a student in our church’s youth group is asked, “Who are the most influential adults in your life?”  We want their parents and adults from our student ministry to be in their top five!

Chris Dortch has been in ministry since 1993 and has been the Lead Youth Pastor of Christ Community Church since January of 2002.  You can find a few of his resources at DOWNLOAD YOUTH MINISTRY.

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