The State of the Union

Borrowing a heavily paraphrased line from the United States Constitution: We the husband and wife, in order to form a more perfect union of our marriage, talked about a lot of our plans for 2010 tonight.

I borrowed this idea from a friend of mine. Once a year my friend and his wife would meet to discuss their marriage, their dreams and goals for the coming year, any concerns they had, and anything else they thought could have a significant impact and effect on their marriage and family.

Tonight I did that with my wife. It was our first annual State of the Union meeting. I’m so glad we did it; we left the discussion having pretty clear goals and items to work on in the coming year. We reviewed and established financial goals, spiritual goals, fitness goals, family goals, career goals, and personal goals. In some ways it felt like we were setting up new year’s resolutions, but it’s so much more than that.

So how about you? Have you had your family’s State of the Union meeting yet? It’s never too late!

We Have a Baby Sitter … or … Point of Grace and Mark Schultz Concert

There are two different directions I could go with this post. I could talk about 1) the fact that our oldest child is now a capable babysitter, or 2) going to the Point of Grace – Mark Schultz concert. Both stories will ultimately converge, so here we go!

My wife and I knew several weeks ago we would be attending the Point of Grace – Mark Schultz concert. We knew we’d need a babysitter; it didn’t dawn on us that we might have a babysitter in our own house! We decided that Emily is old enough and responsible enough to take care of the nighttime activities, and indeed she was! She was able to do everything needed to take care of her younger sister and brother and make sure they got to bed safely.

That’s just one of a recent series of child-rearing landmarks we’ve celebrated. Others include my wife being gone for the weekend and not feeling like kids have driven me crazy, and being able to go through a buffet line with only one plate in our hand.

Now back to the concert. It was, as one might expect, an enjoyable concert. I’m not one to write-up music and concert reviews; suffice it to say that the concert was sold out, and well done. The interesting part for me was volunteering to help break down and pack up after the concert. There were about eight professionals managing the teardown, and about 12 volunteers to help. It really was an interesting experience seeing all the “parts” and loading those parts into touring quality shipping containers. The whole process took about 2-1/2 hours. The end result was a fully loaded semi truck.

The staffers said that after they left the concert they would go to a hotel for a 20-minute shower and then hop on the bus and sleep on the road as they travelled to the next concert venue (Duluth MN in this case). If I heard right and remember right, the bus sleeps fifteen.

And so ends a successful night with a child reaching a new level of responsibility, and an interesting night after a fun concert!

I’m so proud of my wife! Judy has such an incredible artistic talent and she now has it on display at!  She has already painted several family portraits and people outside the family are finding out about her now too.

A picture is worth a thousand words, go view and read for yourself at her website: — Painting Everyday Scenes of Life.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

What an amazing Father-Son night! It was so much fun taking Andrew to see the Redhawks play ball last night, absolutely everything was perfect! Here’s a list of all the items that contributed to perfection:

  1. The weather was perfect. The temperature at the start of the game was likely low 80’s, probably low 70’s at the end of the game.
  2. Sunmart provides two free general admission tickets in exchange for a $25 receipt for games on Monday and Tuesday, so the price was right.
  3. We were given a free plunger from Robert Gibb & Sons. (The first 1000 fans all got one.) Quirky, but Andrew sure had fun with his plunger!
  4. Andrew was given a free kids meal … kids under 12 get a free hotdog, chips, and pop. We had both eaten already, so it was the perfect snack. (The kettle corn later was tasty too!)
  5. Andrew genuinely enjoyed being there. I don’t know how much of the game he watched, but he absolutely enjoyed being there. I taught him some of the finer points all 6-year-olds should know about baseball (singles, doubles, triples, how many innings, how many outs in an inning, etc.)

We stayed for the whole game, which was well past Andrew’s bedtime. He talked non-stop … even on the ride home. It was just way too much fun, a perfect Father-Son moment!

Oh … and the Redhaws won by a score of 18-1. Considering all the other ingredients in this perfect night, I think the winning score was probably the least important. Hopefully this is one that will stick in Andrew’s memory for a very long time!

Our House has been Dedicated to the Lord!

What a neat experience! I just returned from a trip to our new house with Pastor Dave Bruns. He very kindly fulfilled my request to offer a prayer of dedication for our new house. I gave him a quick tour, and then he briefly read out of Exodous 3, explaining that like the ground around the burning bush, the house has been claimed as Holy ground.

It was a quick, simple meeting and prayer … and it really meant a lot to me!

It’s Time to Build a House!

At long last we are now able to experience some tangible progress on our new house project! Last Friday (August 29, 2008) our builder was able to obtain the building permit. This is big, big news as there were any number of small administrative issues that needed to be cleared up at city hall. It appears the people that sold us the land have some other bills to pay, and even though we own our lot free and clear we still ended up getting slowed down as the details were being sorted out. I am quickly learning that there is much more to building a house than just pounding nails.

Then today I was taking the kids to the park and we decided to make a quick run to the lot … just to peek! And there they were. Four small stakes in the ground designating the corners of our lot! Progress! Honest-to-goodness progress!!! So that is hopefully a sign that the hole will be dug this week and the foundation will be established. Weather permitting (it rained pretty hard tonight) and God willing we’ll be able to make some significant progress this week.

Groundbreaking at the Hultin lot

Groundbreaking at the Hultin lot

The picture included with this post is pretty fun too! My partner Mike Stevens gave us three small shovels for our kids to use for a groundbreaking ceremony and that was exactly what we did! We went out to our lot, had a quick family prayer, and then let the kids dig in. They had a blast!

And then to bring us back to reality, there’s the special assessment notice we just received in the mail. Oh yeah, we have to pay for this fun project too. Time to get back to work and sell more websites!

No other gods

Last Sunday we were camping and visited Bethel Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. One of the reasons we selected that particular church for a visit was to see if we could bump into the kids’ former classmates that have moved to Fergus Falls. We did, and had a wonderful time of visiting after church!

The pastor (David Foss) had a wonderful sermon. He was introducing a series on the Ten Commandments, and he led off with the first one: Have no other gods. He presented an angle I really hadn’t thought of before. He suggested that God’s reason for establishing this commandment wasn’t necessarily to force Himself on His people. Instead, the reason for this commandment could be God saying, “You’re not safe with anybody else.” Considering that the context of the introduction of the Ten Commandments was when the Israelites were starting their dessert journey, this perspective makes total sense.

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